MORE than 300 cane farmers in Lautoka will benefit from the rehabilitation of the Naviago rail bridge in Lautoka.
Washed away during the March flood, the crossing is of vital importance to farmers in the areas surrounding Drasa and Lovu.
Speaking at the commissioning of the new $1.6 million bridge, chief guest and Lautoka mill production manager Vili Savou said the reopening of the bridge has brought relief to farmers in the area.
He said the new bridge would assist the mill in meeting its target of transporting 13,000 tonnes of rail cane to the Lautoka mill.
"This bridge services all the rail cane growers on the Ba side of the bridge and annually we always receive 16,000 to 18,000 tonnes of cane from the rail growers.
"But this year since we have converted some of the rail growers into lorry growers, we expect to receive 13,000 tonnes of cane from rail growers."
Mr Savou said another advantage of the bridge was that it would provide a link now for Lautoka and Rarawai mills.
"When there is a situation for the transfer of cane from Lautoka to Rarawai or vice versa for any given situation now, we have the opportunity to be able to do that through this bridge otherwise we will have to use the road which is a much more expensive exercise."