Old Vaisigano Bridge to be demolished
The Vaisigano Bridge will be demolished.
The Chief Executive Office of the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.), Galumalemana Tititutuvanu Schwalger, said demolition plans for the 67-year-old structure will begin next month only after the completion of relevant works,
Until then the method of its demolition will remain unknown.
The C.E.O. of Works, Infrastructure and Transport, Magele Hoe Viali, said there was no option but to take down the bridge.
The first Vaisigano Bridge was built at the beginning of the twentieth century as a seven-span, steel walking bridge.
After being rebuilt with concrete it later served as a connection between Apia and the industrial area to its west, Samoa’s only commercial port – the Matautu wharf since 1953.
While Samoa remained under New Zealand's administration the road became a major arterial connection for the road network in Upolu along the east coast.
The L.T.A. chief, Galumalemana, said they are currently working with various Authorities to ensure necessary electrical remediation work necessary is carried out before the bridge's demolition.
A variety of cables and utility connections lie under the bridge and will require redirection.
"Currently, we are working with utility service providers including Samoa Water Authority, Electric Power Corporation, Petroleum Products Supplies, Bluesky and CSL etc on relocating or transferring utilities from the old bridge to the new bridge," she told the Samoa Observer.
"When utility relocations have completed, then demolition of old bridge will start."
The new bridge will 75 metres long, or the same length as the previous model, but will be 1.5 meters higher. It is 20 metres away from the location of its predecessors.
The new bridge will have two lanes, footpaths and street lighting and include improvements to the roundabout at Matautu.
The $44 million project is being constructed by the Japanese Konoiki Construction Company, which employs about 75 local workers.
The construction project is funded by the government of Japan under a grant to Samoa.
The current bridge began deteriorating since 2002, when heavier vehicles were banned from using it.
Further damages from Cyclone Evan in 2012 reduced the strength of the bridge. Authorities said its collapse was a real priority and said its replacement was a high priority.
The first road sign signalling the existence of the two-lane road to motorists was erected last last year and will in future point motorists from the bridge to popular tourist attractions on the island.
Sections of roads near the Vaisigano Bridge construction have been closed until the 31st March.
The Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (M.W.T.I.) Assistant C.E.O., Saugaga Leilani Galuvao, said in November that the bridge was expected to be completed in 2020.