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Short on bridges

Torika Tokalau
Monday, March 10, 2014

FIJI Roads Authority capital works manager Ian Hunter believes that more funds should be allocated to bridge renewals for the 2014 bridge upgrade program.

Mr Hunter said although $33million from the authority's 2014 budget had been earmarked for the bridge renewals, he believed there was a case for allocating significantly more funds in order to make all bridges safe for the travelling public.

"So we don't spend 20 years trying to repair very out-of-condition bridges," he said.

The authority investigated and conducted preliminary assessments of 850 bridges last year. This formed the basis of an FRA plan for the design and construction of safe and built-to-last bridges.

The preliminary assessment concluded that many bridges in Fiji were substandard and in need of replacement.

Mr Hunter said the authority was making every effort to keep the bridges open without compromising the safety of the public.

"For example, the repairs in January to the Korovula and Vesidrua bridges in Seaqaqa have kept normal traffic flowing.

"In the interests of safety, a maximum vehicle weight limit of three tonnes has been imposed on the Vuci irrigation bridge until the new beams are installed."

Mr Hunter said the Vunidilo bridge was closed and repaired as quickly as possible then opened to vehicles weighing up to five tonnes and pedestrian traffic.

He added that with further repairs, the vehicle limit had been increased to 14 tonne gross weight or nine-tonne axle weight.

"As well as the bridge repairs taking place throughout the country, the renewals program for new bridge construction is under way.

"For example, the new Moto bridge was opened last year and investigations for a new Stinson bridge in Suva central business district have started."

Work on the redesigned Rakiraki bridge construction began last month and the bridges on the Nabouwalu-Dreketi highway construction are being redesigned for a longer minimum life span.

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