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Road works concern

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, February 11, 2013

A GROUP of villagers in the Buca Bay area have raised their concerns over delays in repairing patches of roads affected by heavy rain.

While some have raised their concern over this issue, others blame the temporary closure of the Tukavesi Depot has contributed to the delay since all road matters are now looked after by a new contractor based in Savusavu.

Navonu farmer Etuate Waqa said in past years, workers at the depot would visit the roads after a day of heavy rain fall and fill in gravel or put stones in deep potholes and on soggy portions of road.

"Now, we don't see that any more. It will take days for a team to come from Savusavu and by that time, the villagers would have helped themselves to putting some stones in potholes," Mr Waqa said. "We do that because we feel for the travelling public and the buses and cars that get stuck in boggy soil or deep potholes."

Another villager Jim Seta who lives near Loa Village said they were lucky the wet weather had not badly damaged the roads.

"Only some portions of the roads have been badly affected and when the team comes from Savusavu, they do good maintenance so it holds for a while," Mr Seta said. "The good thing about having a depot at Tukavesi is that the workers fix the affected roads straight after it stops raining because they do their checks.

"Now, we have to wait at least a week before the team from Savusavu comes to fix the roads but their maintenance work lasts."

Fiji Roads Authority chief executive Neil Cook said contractors were not using the depot on a full time basis but that did not hamper their ability to undertake works.

"Regardless of where the office is, the contractor is required to respond in a timely fashion when works are required," he said. "Over coming months, the public will see that works are programmed on a regular basis. There is a need for some patience as the contractors work through a large backlog of work that has been neglected over a long period of time."

He said significant improvements had taken place.

"The contractor in the north has filled over 3000 potholes during January alone. The reference to rapid response from Tukavesi depot in the past is not entirely accurate," Mr Cook said.

"My understanding is that while a number of staff were based at the depot, they had very little in the way of appropriate equipment."





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