Samoa took another gigantic leap forward yesterday in terms of road infrastructure.
It happened when the $68.8million Vaitele Street widening project was officially opened.
The 7.2km four-lane extension, which starts from Malifa to Saina, was carried out by Ott Construction and BECA – with assistance from other sub contractors.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, hailed the opening of the road as a major milestone for Samoa.
He said it’s a “road that serves the public and enables the public to serve each other.”
Close to a hundred people gathered to witness the project opening. Among them was Australia’s Minister for the International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Land Transport Authority, Leasi Vainalepa Galuvao welcomed the special guests.
Maeva Betham-Vaai, of the World Bank congratulated the government of Samoa for the great achievement. The project was funded under the Enhance Road Access Project (E.R.A.P), which is financed by the government of Samoa, the World Bank and the government of Australia.
“The bank (World Bank) contributed a grant of 20million USD towards funding of E.R.A.P,” she said.
“The extension from Vailoa to Saina of the upgraded Vaitele Street is an addition to the first phase from Malifa to Lepea.
“The improved Vaitele street from Malifa to Saina as it is now, is an important part of Samoa’s Land Transport Infrastructure as it serves as the economic corridor connecting cross-island road, the Matautu Wharf and Apia City to the industrial zone and onwards to Faleolo airport and Mulifanua wharf.”
She also commended the government’s commitment in restoring key road infrastructures and to enhance climate resilience of critical roads and bridges in the country.
She added that the completion of this project has also achieved the objective they had in the beginning, which was to reduce traffic congestions and improving climate resilience.
“The objective was achieved through widening of the road into four lanes and improved drainage. The upgrade also includes pedestrian walkways and streets lights among other enhancement.
“As the result of these improvements, we believe that communities along the way are much safer and the road users can now have easy and quick access to critical infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and markets, therefore, we applaud your commitment.”
Ms. Fierravanti-Wells thanked the government of Samoa for allowing the Australian government to contribute to the development of Samoa in the infrastructure sector.
“I want to congratulate the government of Samoa for the work that you have done on this road renovation on time and on budget,” she said.
“Australia is very proud to have supported this development. One of our main projects in working with the government of Samoa is to make it easy for Samoans and visitors to Samoa to do business with one another and to enjoy all that Samoa has to offer.
“To make it easier and quicker to go around between the airport and town and to get to the inter-island ferry and get to and from work easily. And most importantly, to make is safer for everyone to get around.”
Australia’s support for this project is part of their ongoing commitment to help the development of Samoa.
“In 2013, the Australian government provided 20 million dollars towards Samoa’s infrastructure. Including 13 million dollars to support the development and climate resilience of Samoa’s national road network. It is good to see firsthand the results from our commitment here today.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa thanked everyone who contributed in completing the project.
“This is a great project,” he said. “We have been blessed to receive funding from the World Bank and the Australian government to make this project come to life through the Second Infrastructure Management Project through the enhance road access project (erap).”
The total length of the upgraded road is 7.2km and it cost $68,840,000 WST, said Tuilaepa.
“We were also fortunate to have with us throughout the whole process from start to finish, BECA Consultants with the assistances of local consultancy firms who designed and supervised the project. And to Ott Constructors for constructing the entire road length.”
The groundwork for the venture began in 2003 where a Feasibility Study was carried out in regards to the project.
“The outcomes of such studies and normal consultations with relevant stakeholders have resulted in today’s official opening and in witnessing the successful completion of this major government project.
“The life of this project has provided major benefits for the nation of Samoa. It has not only improved the traffic flow by decreasing the delayed time for traffic along the main route from the town area to the industrial zone (Vaitele) but it also created the most comfortable and smooth ride on a road in Samoa.
“With the increasing number of vehicles being brought into the country every year a route of this caliber is no longer a luxury but a necessity. It serves the members of the public who commute to work in Apia. Students can now get to school quicker and easier, patients making their way to the hospitals will no longer have to encounter bad and bumpy roads.
“This is the way forward to Samoa, a road that serves the public and enables the public to serve each other and the many who visit the shores of Samoa.”
The upgrade of Vaitele streets also provides safe footpaths for pedestrians; speed bumps crossing and street lightings for night hours and stops have been positioned all along to allow for public transport to have minimal destructions to ongoing traffic.
“A major improvement we have seen from the upgrade of Vaitele Street is the efficient drainage run of water. Traffic is no longer prevented from travelling due to flooding during extreme rainfall.”
In his last remarks, Tuilaepa uttered that the government of Samoa has allowed growth to occur in various ways only for the benefit of the tens of thousands of people living in Samoa.
“We want to continue to see this growth and we hope that in future years, the standard that has been set for Vaitele streets will be mirrored in other major roads around Samoa.
“I want to thank everyone for bringing this project to life and this is an outcome we should all be proud of.”