Lelata Bridge reconstruction project still without contractor
Four months after a deadline for bids expired, a contract to construct the new Lelata Bridge is yet to be awarded, the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) head, Galumalemana Titi Tutuvanu-Schwalger has confirmed.
Despite the apparent delay in the project’s beginning, the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) says she is confident that it will be completed within the deadline.
The project is funded by the Green Climate Fund initiative aims to build new infrastructure to make Samoa more resistant to the effects of climate change.
The Green Climate Fund is a 25-year project with a USD$65.7 million endowment.
“While the construction contract has not been awarded yet, L.T.A. is confident that the works will be completed within the project set timeline,” Galumalemana said in response to emailed questions from the Samoa Observer.
The C.E.O. said that the design, supervision and construction of the new bridge is all funded using the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.) grant.
Last September, the Government issued a tender for interested bidders to carry out the construction of a new bid. The deadline for bids to be submitted by 9 November last year.
The project’s tender document states the financing for the new Lelata Bridge includes a contribution from the broader Vaisigano Catchment Project.
(The broader catchment project is a six-year initiative designed to reduce the potential risks to infrastructure in Apia caused when the Vaisigano River floods).
“The works will include, but will not be limited to demolition and removal of the current Lelata Bridge Structure; precast prestressed concrete single hollow core beams with an in-situ concrete topping slab; L-shaped In-situ concrete abutments,” the tender states.
The bridge’s existing opening will be maintained but precast beams will support the 23.5 metre-long bridge.
The L.T.A. says the project will increase the durability and height of the bridge to offer motorists and Lelata residents greater protection.
“The main criteria is to raise the level of the bridge to accommodate the height of the new river walls to achieve the main focus of this project as a whole – trying to mitigate and to minimize the effects of climate change,” the Manager of the L.T.A.’s Project Management Division, Maverick Wetzell, said in 2019.
“Lelata Bridge is a crucial bridge and you know it is a connection between the Fagalii airport (now the Samoa Police Service traffic division headquarters) as well as the schools around the nearby area.”