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Experts in bridge designs

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, May 17, 2014

CHINA Railway First Group Fiji Limited may not have the necessary knowledge to design bridges even though its parent company is a master in the area.

Fiji Roads Authority capital works manager Ian Hunter said OPUS International was hired to design bridges along the Dreketi Nabouwalu highway since they were familiar with the engineering standards used by the FRA.

Mr Hunter said FRA's engineering standards were based on the New Zealand one and OPUS was familiar with it.

"We have discussed Chinese standards with Chinese consultants," he said.

"In most respects they are very much the same as the FRA standards.

"However it is usual for consultants to design structures to the standards of the country they are working in and this is mandatory in Fiji."

Speaking during a tour in Nabouwalu earlier this week CRFG project engineer Jeff Peng said they spent about $NZ1million ($F1.57m) to contract OPUS International as a consultant adviser and a bridge designer for its Dreketi-Nabouwalu highway project.

Authority CEO Neil Cook had earlier said they wanted to ensure that decisions on road maintenance were made with full knowledge of the full extent of the extra costs and its impact on the wider economy and the taxpayer.

"If the people who are in the authority make decisions based on sufficient knowledge, the FRA is fine with that," Mr Cook said.

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