Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has acknowledged with gratitude the Australian government for the provision of emergency “Bailey” bridges for Samoa.
The project valued at A$1.4m (T$2.6million) was officially presented to the government at the beginning of the week.
In handing them over, Australia’s High Commissioner, Sue Langford explained that a bailey bridge is a prefabricated bridge that does not require any special tools or heavy equipment to assemble.
The parts can be carried on trucks and lifted into place by people and without a crane. Most importantly they can be erected over affected flooded areas without delay so that people can immediately access much needed services.
“Australia is committed to supporting Samoa to upgrade its economic infrastructure because this is vital infrastructure that connects communities; that enables economic growth to continue and ensures that communities remain in touch with each other particularly during emergencies,” Ms. Langford said.
“We are proud to have co-financed the rebuilding of the new climate resilient Leone bridge and the soon to be constructed Maliolio bridge in Savai’i."
“I would like to congratulate the Government of Samoa particularly the Land Transport Authority for their hard work and diligence in progressing these important projects. It is my hope that these bridges will be an important resource during emergencies to restore access to affected communities.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa said Samoa is grateful for the bridges and Australia’s assistance.
“After Samoa was hit by Cyclone Evan in December 2012, a Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report was prepared. In this report, the damages and losses to the transport sector was valued at 65 million Samoan Tala and 22.9 million Samoan Tala respectively,” Tuilaepa said.
“Consequently, the government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade deployed two Australian Civil Corp engineers to assist the Land Transport Authority in assessing the conditions of bridges and crossings in both Upolu and Savai’i."
“To continue the work initiated by the two Australian Civil Corp engineers and L.T.A, D.F.A.T. provided further financial assistance through deployment of an Australian consultancy firm namely Cardno Emerging Markets (Australia) Pty Ltd. The work by Cardno in close consultation with L.T.A. included formulating a priority list for bridges and crossings according to two factors:
1. Vulnerability factors such as bridge condition, climate change and
2. Social and economic factors such as traffic volume as well as availability of an alternative route if the crossing is damaged
“I am pleased to announce that this priority list for bridges and crossings is currently being used by L.T.A. to support the programming of its works and to validate proposals by our Government for funding towards rehabilitation and maintenance of bridges.”
The Prime Minister added that the contract to supply 5 types of bailey bridges inclusive of spare parts has been awarded to Mabey Bridges Ltd from the United Kingdom for $2.6 million.
“The Government of Samoa plans to install these bailey bridges at crossings that are a priority for rehabilitation or reconstruction but no funds are available yet,” Tuilaepa said.
“Also, some of these bailey bridges will be on stand by for use during an emergency when a crossing has been damaged or washed away."
“The arrival of these bailey bridges and their intended use is in line with our Government’s commitment laid out in Key Outcome 10 of the Samoa Development Strategy which is to provide 'A sustainable, safe, secure and environmentally responsible transport network that supports Samoa’s economic and social development'.”