July 23, 2013

Fiji Times Editorial: Road upgrade

Fred Wesley
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

IT is good to know that in the next five months more will be done to improve roads around the country.

It is good to know that we can expect more work on a larger scale as the Fiji Roads Authority pushes ahead with plans to lift the standard of our roads.

This will cost the authority about $130 million on maintenance, renewal projects and another $300 million on new roads construction.

And as the authority's CEO Neil Cook said, the past six months were mainly about maintenance and contractors gearing up and getting the supply chain sorted out.

Now, he said, they were ready to swing major renewal programs.

Long links of road, he said, were being reconstructed and rebuilt and "some are going on at the moment and it will gear up even more".

Mr Cook said there would be a lot of resealing happening where another layer of bitumen and stone chip would be added on top of the road to keep it waterproof.

This certainly is good news. We hope this will eventually have a positive roll-on effect on the average person and have added impetus on their ability to improve their lives.

The upgraded Kings highway, linking the Capital City to the Western Division has virtually reduced travelling time and added comfort and safety.

The highway has, to a certain extent, brought the rural dweller closer to Suva.

This should open up endless possibilities and should improve economic activity in areas that were once laidback and forgotten.

In the end, the new highway cuts through a pretty large area, providing a link that is vital for thousands of people.

Work on the highway linking Nabouwalu to Dreketi on Vanua Levu will also open up economic activity for the lower end of the island.

Again, the possibilities are endless.

Opportunities are there for thousands of people to benefit in various industries like fisheries, agriculture, small business activities and the very real prospect of a boom in tourism ventures.

There is no doubt about the fact that this is a massive undertaking that could open up the Northern Division to positive economic prospects.

It could even stand out as the single most important development in recent history, standing alongside the upgrading work that turned the Queens highway into the vital link it is today.

This latest revelation is positive and is good for the people of Fiji.

Clearly though, there will be hope that upgrading works are long term and worth the funds directed to them.

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