Temporary access built over Nu’usuatia ford
Authorities have used five culvert pipes to build a temporary one-lane road over the Nu’usuatia ford to enable motorists to cross the river.
Severe flooding last Friday destroyed the ford and cut off access for vehicles and members of the public. But the building of the temporary access on Saturday will give the public access while work continues on a new bridge.
Village Mayor Leleua Suataga ‘Aso told the Samoa Observer that it was not the first time for severe flooding to cut off their access.
“It’s about four times that a flood destroyed the work on the new bridge but they can’t back out now because the old bridge has already been taken down,” Leleua said.
“We’re really looking forward to this new bridge. Not only is it safe for our village but the rest of the motorists and people who go through here.
“An improvement to the one-lane bridge in Nu'usuatia is long overdue.”
Times of natural disasters has also placed the bridge’s users in danger, according to the Village Mayor.
"We have reported so many incidents from our side due to the narrow road of the bridge, for accessible and safety reasons," he said.
"Cars have collided head-on and when the river overflows, the water goes over the bridge. And some of these issues is the reason why we have continually pushed for a new bridge."
Asked whether any families in Nuusuatia may be affected by the new bridge's construction, Leleua said that is unlikely to happen.
"As far as I know, we all agreed and urged for this development and therefore no families should be objecting," he added.
"And the moment we put in a submission saying we need an improvement to our bridge, we banned anyone from objecting to any possible works regarding the bridge."
Leleua further reiterated the December 2012 Cyclone Evan revealed the vulnerability of the bridge, as it was during that time when the village residents saw how unsafe it was during a natural disaster.
"Not only with the overflow of the water, but also the accessibility by vehicles and the villagers themselves," Leleua added.
"Should the bridge be constructed soon, it will not only be for the benefit of the people of this village, but also the wider public travelling on the road. This is great news for all of us."
The old bridge had been the scene of a number of vehicle accidents over the years due to the narrowness of the infrastructure, especially when there is heavy traffic.
The new Nu'usuatia Bridge is one of three bridge projects in the pipeline for the Government, according to a Planning and Urban Management Agency's [P.U.M.A.] advertisement published recently in the Samoa Observer.
It is understood the Land Transport Authority [L.T.A.] has applied to the P.U.M.A. for a development consent and advised persons who will be affected by the proposed project to send their objection submissions.