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How $248,955 Will Help Open Up Nadi-Lautoka

How $248,955 Will Help Open Up Nadi-Lautoka
July 21
11:00 2018

The Government presented the 2018-2018 National Budget in Par­liament, a document full of vision for Fiji to continue to grow economi­cally, as it has done over the past four years and to introduce a number of pro­grammess that will lift the lifestyle and wellbeing of every Fijian.

Nestled in the many allocations is one that, I believe, will over the next four years make a vast impact on the way Fi­jians live and where they work as well as making their lives a great deal easier.

The allocation in the Budget, at under $250,000, is not a lot of funding compared to the $1billion to lift our education sec­tor to new heights.

You would need some specialist knowl­edge to understand what they were talk­ing about and quite a bit of experience in the area to see the vision that will flow from the funds.

Of course that allocation is just the first that will be required over the next four years to turn the vision into reality, but I have seen enough of this government to know they do not start something they can’t finish.

Excitement building

So I am excited and my mind is racing ahead.

The money is seed money to start a monumental piece of public infrastruc­ture moving forward.

In the somewhat laconic words of the Budget detail the funds are to do “De­tailed Engineering and Geotechnical Studies of Four Laning between Nadi In­ternational Airport (where four laning completes) – Lautoka Corridor.”

Just seventeen words that will create an amazing, modern, exciting environment.

There’s another allocation of somewhat more to “Formalise and improve 69 in­tersections Nadi- Lautoka” amounting to $1, 431,997.

These funds will allow a significant amount of preparation work to be done to sort out what could be problems where side roads are entering the Queen’s Highway in a way that could impact safe­ty and traffic flow efficiency.

Why the Nadi-Lautoka corridor?

Even this doesn’t sound like world shaking stuff, but think about this.

Nadi is the international point of entry for almost all aircraft and is a critical support for Fiji’s largest industry, tour­ism.

Lautoka currently has the second larg­est shipping port in the country.

The distance between Nadi Town and the City of Lautoka is thirty kilome­tres and of that some nine kilometres is served by existing four lane or a combi­nation of roads at the Nadi end that are as effective as a highway.

Both urban areas are heavily devel­oped, suburbs are expanding from the urban centre and residential land prices are going up fast.

Between the two centres there is a vast amount of prime land that is basically undeveloped, but construction activity is growing fast and is somewhat uncon­trolled.

However, this activity is basically grow­ing outwards from each centre because the overall connectivity is not good.

Building the lanes

The actual building of the four lane road will not be difficult and should pro­ceed quite quickly.

The land is basically flat; the current road is flood free except for a couple of sections, there is not a mass of services infrastructure in the ground, no bridges of any size will need to be built and land acquisition should be straight forward.

Currently there are no concentrations of dense population areas or other build­ing sites that will be an issue.

The four lane will pass through some of the finest land in the country, with sec­tions running down to the sea to the west and back up into delightful hills and val­leys to the east.

Land that is very much underdeveloped.

Connecting centres

The new four lanes will provide excel­lent connectivity to the main urban cen­tres from anywhere along the road.

It will also make it realistic for residen­tial estates and factory, warehouse and distribution centres in commercial pre­cincts to be built.

The high standard of pavement will en­courage frequent bus, minibus and mo­tor vehicle services to further improve the connectivity for residents.

Easy commute

Daily commuting will be very easy and hassle free and all necessary services will be in easy reach.

Because of the availability of large tracts of affordable land it is certain that there will be several large interna­tional style Malls built and these too will be within fast reach of residents along the four lane.

The important services such as Water Authority of Fiji and Energy Fiij Lim­ited are already available along this section of the Queen’s Highway and extension of the services into the sur­rounding areas should be a relatively easy operation.

Opportunities

There are also a number of land devel­opments close to the probable route of the four lane, such as the Vuda Valley, Vulani Island Development, Lomolomo and several other desirable locations on the western side that will be made more accessible than at the present.

With the certain growth in population within the area between Nadi and Lau­toka, the Government will almost cer­tainly consider building schools, health centres and other service infrastructure.

It may even be that the current investi­gation to convert the sugar cane line to a passenger service could become more vi­able because of the commuter numbers, definitely an attractive option for people in the area.

For much business, the improved con­nectivity to the two points of interna­tional entry will assist in cost reductions and the certainty of their international freight movements.

Town and country planning

One important issue will be for town and country planning to ensure that there is some order in the way the whole new area develops right from the start.

The connectivity created by the four lane will basically create a single en­tity from Nadi to Lautoka and this will become an economic powerhouse in the west.

The speed with which people reacted to the benefits offered by the airport to Nadi Town section of the completed four lane is testament to the impact the ease of connectivity can have on a commu­nity.

In the short period since the initial sec­tion was completed the growth of both residential and business sectors, par­ticularly in the Namaka and Martintar precincts has been impressive, and I believe that it will continue, providing an insight to the future the whole area will gain with the four lane extension through to Lautoka.

And I am sure that Fiji Roads Authority will deliver this exciting future, just as they did with the first and much more difficult section from the airport to Wailoaloa Road.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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