Flooding at Lano worries motorists

Motorists who use the Lano ford in Savai’i have appealed to the Government to build a bridge as flooding can make the concrete access-way difficult to cross.

Bad weather all over Samoa in recent days has put the spotlight on critical road infrastructure with Lano villagers as well as motorists in the area leading calls for a permanent solution to address the dangerous crossing during flooding.

Savai’i-based motorists Velio Tau’inaola and Joe Sione, who tried to cross the ford on Tuesday, said local drivers have faced the same problem for many years and lives were also lost.

“It is usually hard to cross this road during bad weather conditions,” Mr Tau’inaola told the Samoa Observer. 

“It is okay for some vehicles, especially big vehicles like trucks and buses. But for small vehicles, it’s always difficult to cross. 

“Sometimes, the untitled men from Lano assists us to get through to the other side of the road. We appreciate that because they tell us when it is okay to cross and not. 

“For us who drive small cars, we sometimes drive behind a truck or a bus to get through to the other side when the ford is flooded.” 

Mr Sione expressed similar sentiments and appealed to the Government to take action as lives have already been lost.

“I believe that in the past, there were lives lost because of the ford, and we don’t want a repetition of that. 

“The Government should construct a proper and safety bridge for the motorists and people to use. Like the bridge we have at Samalaeulu.

“At the moment, the people no longer have to worry about crossing the Mali'oli'o ford, because of the well-built bridge there. It would be nice if we have a similar bridge for Lano."

Earlier this year a $7.5 million bridge was opened at Samalaeulu, with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi declaring that the Government would continue to collaborate in the upgrade or construction of other major road infrastructure projects, such as the Lano and Sapapali'i in Savai'i. 

The Land Transport Authority Chief Executive Officer, Galumalemana Titi Tutuvanu-Schwalger, had also indicated in an earlier interview with the Samoa Observer that the authority is advertising for a consultant to do the design work for the proposed Lano bridge in Savai’i and upgrading work on the Afega Bridge in Upolu.

The design supervision and the construction of these bridges would be funded by the World Bank under the Samoa Climate Resilient Transport project, she added. 

"So until we complete the design, then we can tender out the works to find a contractor who can carry out the construction works for the two bridges."

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