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Fiji Time: 11:35 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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FRA says crossings safe

Shayal Devi
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

THERE are hundreds of Irish crossings throughout Fiji designed to be overtopped during heavy rain.

Fiji Roads Authority CEO Dale Nicholls said: "They are able to be used again quite quickly once the water has receded."

The issue of safety while using such bridges arose after an incident in Nadi in which 46-year-old Francis Deo and his daughter Samantha lost their lives when the taxi they were travelling in was swept away by strong currents at the Aralevu Irish crossing in Tunalia.

"While the Fiji Roads Authority sympathises with the residents of Tunalia in Nadi, the responsibility must remain with drivers to make the right choices whether to cross this type of crossing during times of heavy rain," Mr Nicholls said.

"The Irish crossings are designed to be overtopped during heavy rain but are able to be used again quite quickly once the water has receded.

"They remain a viable option for Fiji now and into the future where the alternative in many cases was fording the river."

Mr Nicholls said because of the amount of debris that could flow down a river or stream in heavy rain, it was not practical to provide side fences for the crossing.

"The Fiji Roads Authority has at least an estimated 10-year program in front of it to repair or replace existing structures."