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L.T.A. responds to call to fix Vaipuna road

The Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) has begun the procurement process to engage a contractor to work on Vaipuna’s flood-prone road.

The Chief Executive Officer of the L.T.A., Galumalemana Taatialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger, confirmed that the procurement process is already underway in an email response to the Samoa Observer. 

The vulnerability of the village’s road to flooding has been raised by the Member of Parliament Lenata’i Victor Tamapua, Vaipuna’s High Chief Salapo Tupou and Mayor Tauasa Ronnie.

This week the Village Council acknowledged that it’s been 19 years since they put in a request to the L.T.A. to fix flooding on the road entering their village. 

“We have been asking for help from the Government since 2001, and then there was another follow up in 2011. In 2017 we signed an agreement but to date we’re just witnessing other villages enjoying new roads, and we are still waiting,” said Salapo. 

Lenata’i made the same appeal in Parliament and asked that funding should be sourced from the Green Climate Fund, as villages in his district continue to experience the daily impact of climate change. 

"The road right in front of the Vaipuna E.F.K.S. going to Vaiala, from the four corners in Matautu, the water just sits there all the time. It does not matter how much rain falls, the water stays," the M.P. said. "Two cars on opposite sides of the road cannot go at the same time, only one can go through at once."

Lenata'i said earlier, since the closure of sections of the road leading up to the Vaisigano bridge, businesses and residents in Matautu have been limited to a one-way road when entering and exiting through Vaipuna.

"This is the only road used to get to the Customs Office, the Apia Wharf, and other businesses on that road; it is also the road that will be used by large heavy vehicles because the road section near Vaisigano is closed," he added.

Galumalemana, in an email to the Samoa Observer, said the Authority acknowledges and values the concerns raised by the general public over the Vaipuna road. 

“And we endeavor to resolve the issues as much as possible and in a timely manner. The flooding issue at Vaipuna is very much a priority to the Land Transport Authority.” 

She said the L.T.A. have engaged a consultant to work alongside its technical team as well as other relevant government agencies, to survey and design a drainage to address the Vaipuna flooding and other areas within the Central Business District that are vulnerable to flooding.

“Such works require significant preparation including securing of funds, consultation with the affected stakeholders especially because land/properties will be affected during the works as well undertaking the procurement process,” she stated in her email. “The procurement of a contractor to carry out the works at Vaipuna drainage is underway and works will start upon award of contract which will resolve this issue by mid-year.”

This week High Chief Salapo said the road in question is where container trucks commute to get to the wharf: 

“And with the closing of the Vaisigano Bridge everyone takes up this road. Not only is the road flooded, it’s relatively narrow; there are no sidewalks and this is a residential area. There are more than 1,000 members of the public that live in the area and thousands more that use this road. And yet it appears our request to simply fix our road is not being considered by the Government.”

High Chief Salapo said even before the closing of the Vaisigano bridge, container trucks are not allowed to commute through the bridge. 

“The public is treating our road like an industrial road when in fact this is a residential area and this has come at a cost to our roads being damaged,” he added. 

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