THE opening of the new Nakorovou bridge along Nalawa Rd in Ra has brought relief to the farming communities in the district of Lawaki
With a population of about 800, the new bridge provides a much-needed safer and efficient route to the Kings Rd for farmers travelling to the Rakiraki market to sell their produce.
Before the construction of the bridge, villagers from Nakorovou, Namara, Tulanuku, Nawaruku and Sowanivou relied on horses and bamboo rafts as modes of transport when crossing the Lawaki river.
The bridge has also provided a much shorter route for the people of Nakida Village in Naitasiri, who in the past had to take a much longer trip through rough terrain to reach the Kings Rd.
Costing about $50,000, the large and much stronger bridge is designed to withstand strong currents while providing a safe passage for the people of Lawaki.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki and Fiji Roads Authority chief executive officer, Neil Cook visited Nakorovou Village on Wednesday to officially hand over the bridge to them.
Speaking in the i-Taukei language, Cdr Cawaki said the bridge was supposed to be opened in December last year but plans were disrupted by Tropical Cyclone Evan.
He said while rehabilitation works for Cyclone Evan continued in the Western Division, he was grateful that the people waited patiently for its opening.
Cdr Cawaki said the bridge would not only benefit the people of Nakorovou but also bring relief to neighbouring villages including Nakida Village of Naitasiri.
FRA chief executive officer, Neil Cook said although the authority was relatively new, one of its top priorities was to address the issue of road access in rural areas.
"We have spoken with the commissioner Western about providing access to other areas and I know that some villages here do not have proper road access at the moment and we will work closely with the commissioner Western to address the needs of these people," said Mr Cook. Lawaki district spokesman Kalivati Naura welcomed the new development.
"This is something that our forefathers had been pleading for a very long time and we are finally seeing the fruits of their persistence," he said.
"We are grateful for the new bridge because it has brought joy to the five villages in our tikina and we know that this will benefit us, our children and grandchildren."