Cross Island Road set for $100 million upgrade

The Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.) has announced that it has approved a US$40 million ($100 million tala) grant to upgrade Samoa’s Central Cross Island Road on the island of Upolu.

The announcement by the Manila-based regional development bank was made on Thursday through a media release that was distributed to local and regional media.

According to the A.D.B., the grant will ensure the country’s roads are made safer, efficient, climate-resilient and sustainable.

At the completion of the project, a total of 8.4 kilometers of footpaths will be built as well as 18 streetlights, 18 safe bus stops, and 11 pedestrian crossings. 

“The project will finance routine maintenance for three years after the completion of the upgrade, as well as boost the capacity of Land Transport Authority staff and other government officials in project management, procurement, gender aspects, safeguards management, and public communications,” stated the A.D.B. media release.

“The Samoa Central Cross Island Road Upgrading Project is the first major road project in Samoa to receive A.D.B. support,” said the A.D.B. Principal Infrastructure Specialist for the Pacific, Rustam Ishenaliev. “The project will upgrade and climate-proof about 20 km of road, incorporating innovative technologies, road safety measures, and gender-inclusive elements, such as catering to the requirements and welfare of women.”

The $40 million project is sourced from the bank’s Asian Development Fund and will incorporate climate adaptation, road maintenance, road safety enhancements, and alternative road construction techniques, all aimed at reducing the project’s carbon footprint.

The Central Cross Island Road stretches about 20 km and is a key artery for more than 7,000 residents and hundreds of businesses between the capital, Apia, and the southern edge of the island. 

Samoa’s coastal communities, where 70 per cent of people live, rely heavily on coastal roads such as this one for their transportation needs, added the A.D.B. media release.

“The Government of Samoa is grateful for A.D.B.’s assistance to upgrade and climate-proof the Central Cross Island Road that provides shorter travelling time for all motorists, a safe inland route for first responders in the event of a natural disaster, and ultimately provide a boost for tourism, agriculture, and trade in Samoa,” said the Land Transport Authority Chief Executive Officer, Galumalemana Ta’atialeoitiiti Agnes Tutuvanu-Schwalger.

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