Puipa'a and Faleula resurfacing delayed again
The contract for already-delayed resurfacing work for the West Coast Road between Puipa'a and Faleula has been extended to December 2020.
The distance between Puipa’a and Faleula is 1.8 kilometres but it is not yet complete and has been delayed more than once.
In April, the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) announced resurfacing work on the project had begun that month after officials blamed difficulties sourcing labour and materials for what was by then already a delayed project.
Then, the L.T.A. had forecast a September date for its completion.
But when asked by the Samoa Observer, the L.T.A.’s Chief Executive Officer, Galumalemana Ta'atialeoitiiti Tutuvanu-Schwalger, said that the final date had been extended again.
“Due to additional work, bad weather as well as impacts of [the] COVID-19 [pandemic] the contract end date has been extended to December 2020,” she said.
P.L.T. Consultants Ltd, which is overseen by Peseta Dr Konelio Tone, is the Project Manager for the resurfacing initiative.
“The contract to upgrade the West Coast Road at Faleula has been awarded to the joint venture between Silva Transport, Ulia Construction and T&N Toleafoa,” said Galumalemana.
“The remaining works to be undertaken is the laying of the asphalt as well as line marking which will be carried out as soon as quality assurance of the asphalt has been approved”.
She added the additional works include laying of asphalt, the sealing of all family driveways and the addition of safety strips on the edges of the road
“The current white line marking right now at Faleula is only temporary so that vehicles travelling especially at night know where the lanes are but the permanent line marking will be done after the asphalt has been laid,” she said.
The Principal of Laumua o Punaoa Institute at Faleula, Reverend Selau Asiata said the road project has been delayed for far too long and had disrupted the commuting of students to school.
“In the beginning, there were concerns as a result of the dust, but was resolved with the companies spraying water to battle the dust,” the Reverend said.
The Samoa Observer approached several families in the area but queries were referred to the village mayor of Faleula, Fetaia'i Va'auli.
“It's true that [the project] is delayed but it’s inevitable given the bad weather, [which] makes it complicated for the project to proceed,” said Fetaia'i.
He told the Samoa Observer that it is better that the project was delayed but completed in a reliable fashion.
“One must consider the quality is important and we don’t mind the delay,” he said.
Another component of the broader West Coast Road reconstruction project, not connected to Faleula, involving the laying of asphalt from Saina to Malua is part of works contracted to Ott Construction and spans a 12.6 kilometer distance.
In July, Ott Construction won praise from the L.T.A. for their quick work on both the resurfacing works and their work on another project: a road widening a passage from Afega to Leauva’a.
Galumalemana at the time thanked Ott Construction for the early progress but said that there is still work to be done.
"We do acknowledge and appreciate the quick works by Ott [Construction] but at the same time we still have yet to reach the full 100 per cent completion of work," she said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
Funded by the World Bank and the Government; the total West Coast Road upgrade project extends from Saina to Malua and is now forecast to be complete by year's end.
The Authority says the majority of the West Coast Road project is being helmed by Ott Construction.
But the section from Faleula to Puipa’a is a joint venture; the three companies involved in the venture have been contacted for comment but did not respond.
The work has been divided into four stages.
Both the Malua to Afega work and the second tranche, from Afega to Faleula, are to be led by Ott Constructions.
The project’s third phase, the delayed resurfacing work from Faleula to Puipa’a, is being led by the joint venture between Silva Transport, Ulia Construction and T&N Toleafoa.
The final tranche, from Puipa’a to Saina, is, again, an Ott Constructions project.
The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, confirmed the asphalt phase was approved by the World Bank.
“Everything has to be approved by the World Bank before we proceed with any phases,” Papali’i said.
“The asphalt costs from Salina to Puipa’a [amount to] $1.3million; [from] Malie to Afega $1 million tala and [from] Afega to Malua $3.7 million.”
Papali'i said the Faleula to Puipa’a was still awaiting a quote from the joint-venture contractors.
“All confirmed costs are from Ott Construction and [were] approved by the World Bank,” he said.
“The asphalt is from Saina all the way to Malua; but [from Tufulele] to Faleolo will be the second phase of the entire project and we have not yet tendered that yet, but it’s coming up.”