$43 million Vaisigano bridge to ease traffic jams
Travellers can expect less traffic congestion in the east coast road of Apia with the opening of the more resilient multimillion tala Vaisigano bridge next Tuesday.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.), Galumalemana Taatialeoitiiti Schwalger, said the public will be able to use the $43 million project before its official launch later this month.
During a press conference on the soon to be commissioned bridge on Saturday evening, Galumalemana thanked the public for their patience and support during construction works.
She said it is only necessary to open the road for use considering the continuous traffic congestion in the east coast road that has forced travelers to take the detour road in Levili.
Construction works for the Vaiasigano bridge began in May 2018 by Japanese Konoike Construction company.
Local sub-contractors Bluebird construction, Capella Pacific construction Samoa and Ott Constructor also contributed to the 27 months construction works.
“The majority of the work was done by locals and we tried to use as many local materials,” said Galumalemana.
“Like any other project there are challenges and the most recent one is the state of emergency for covid-19 orders that banned buses and it affected workers from traveling to construction site.
“There was also delays in materials from overseas and the rainy days were a factor to delays.”
Earlier last week, there were newly installed streetlights on the Vaisigano bridge connecting the roads from Matautu-tai to Matautu-uta.
The new bridge is situated 22 meter downstream of the existing bridge and raised by 1.5 meters.
It has a 3 spans, pre-stressed concrete beams and a reinforced concrete deck making it more climate resilient than the old one.
The old Vaisigano bridge is limited to light weight vehicles due to damages suffered over the years from severe flooding and corrosion from salt damages.
Galumalemana said the old bridge is unsafe and will be destructed as early as next week.
The cost of demolishing the bridge is included in the $43 million reconstruction of Vaisigano bridge project.
She added that keeping the old bridge will get in the way of blocking the water flow and can cause sand to pile up in the area.
As an integral part of the road network in Upolu connecting the town area to Samoa’s only commercial port, it became a pressing issue to replace the existing bridge.
That led to a grant agreement that was signed in July 2017 by the Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) to provide the design, construction and supervision service for the project.
The design and supervision consultant is Central Consultants and CTI Engineer Inc.
Galumalemana acknowledged the kind assistance from J.I.C.A. for funding the development that has allowed the Government to rebuild a stronger and wider bridge for public use.
The two lane bridge is similar to the old bridge but the footpath is wider and broader.
The C.E.O. said that small vehicles can use the bridge but the heavy trucks are advised to use the alternative route that is being used as a detour to travelers.
The Vaisigano bridge will be officially commissioned later this month.
Government contributed in the project by way of lease of contractor’s temporary yard, relocation of affected utilities, obtaining relevant permits, maintenance works and exemption of import and duty taxes.