Delays strike Mali'oli'o bridge opening

The planned opening of the Mali'oli'o Bridge at Samalaeulu in Savai'i has been delayed by up to six months due to ongoing additional construction work. 

This was confirmed by the Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

He said more work had to be done on the structure but could not provide a new opening date for the multi-million project. 

"The plan was to open the bridge by the end of 2019 but because of the additional work being carried out at the moment, a date for the opening has not been confirmed," he said.

When asked to elaborate on "additional work", Minister Papalii said extra work is being done to the 1.5 kilometre surface road. 

"If you look at the road now, we just need to make sure that its properly done so it's [curved] inside. Extra work is being carried out to make sure it's safe to turn there to go through to the bridge,” he added. 

"Moreover, we need to balance out the area where the bridge is connected to the main road to make sure there is no slope there."

The extra work, according to Minister Papali, is to make sure everything is properly done before the official opening. 

"It was supposed to be open last year but we are hoping that by mid year, the project will be completed."

Local firm Ah Liki Construction Company was awarded the $7.64 million tala project. 

It is part of a US$26.35 million grant from the World Bank and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (D.F.A.T.), to restore key road sector assets damaged by extreme weather events and to enhance the climate resilience of critical roads and bridges in the country.

The project includes the demolishing of the existing bridge and the construction of a new reinforced concrete arch bridge 26 metres in length and a 1.5 kilometre surface road.

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