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Vaisigano Bridge work on schedule

Work on the new Vaisigano Bridge in Apia is progressing well and should be completed on time.

The $44 million bridge construction project, which is funded by the government of Japan under a grant to Samoa, is projected to be completed next July.

Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) Assistant C.E.O., Saugaga Leilani Galuvao, told the Samoa Observer that the Japanese contractors have done a good job and the project completion date of July 2020 is on target.

“We don’t really have an issue with regards the construction quality and standards,” she added.

The MWTI represents the Samoa government and has oversight over the project, working in partnership with Japanese contractors.

Land Transport Authority C.E.O., Galumalemana Ta’atialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger, confirmed the project’s completion date in an interview with this newspaper at the Loto Samasoni project site, and added that updates on the project are regularly posted on the Authority’s Facebook page.

“If you see on sight, it has been completed the installment of concrete beams and these were manufactured locally by our own people using overseas standards,” she said. “All of these concrete beams were cast and manufactured at a different site and have already been transported to the work site and have been installed.”

With the country now in the cyclone season, Galumalemana said they are doing regular project site visits to see if anything needs to be done before the bad weather sets in.

“We are aware that the cyclone season is coming up, so we have regular site meetings to try and program if there are any works that we are able to carry out, given there is very bad weather,” she said.

The work on the new bridge is being undertaken by the Japanese firm Konoike Company Ltd. It will be purpose-made for extreme weather conditions such as cyclones. In 2012 debris from flooding by the Vaisigano river, which was triggered by heavy rain during Tropical Cyclone Evan, threatened to damage the bridge as well as business properties and residential homes within its vicinity.

Meanwhile, the L.T.A. is yet to decide where the remaining Bailey bridges still in its possession will be set up. Galumalemana said they are looking at potential sites including the crossing from Malifa to Ma’agao, though they would like to build a road access from Ma’agao to Fa’atoia.

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