Island News

New roads, new bridges, new death stats

Written By : VASITI RITOVA. Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, paramount chief of Naitasiri, made his feelings known. This week’s official opening of the new Navuso Bridge is an event the people
25 May 2009 12:00

image Written By : VASITI RITOVA. Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, paramount chief of Naitasiri, made his feelings known.
This week’s official opening of the new Navuso Bridge is an event the people of Navuso won’t easily forget. It will serve to remind them of their difficult past and their bright future as citizens crossing from the old to the new.
He aptly summed up the collective feelings of the people in parts of his speech at the elaborate ceremony in Navuso on Wednesday.
“Bridges connects, bridges unite and bridges overcome,” Ratu Inoke said. “This occasion is special to me and to the people of Naitasiri.
“We are looking forward to the future and for potential development and positive development,” he added.
The paramount chief, a former Senator, said the new connection would increase their participation in development projects with the rest of Fiji. He said the people of Naitasiri would be looking forward “to more positive changes”.
The Navuso Bridge was constructed at a cost of about $16m by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
“The bridge is a special one as it is able to build a relationship between two countries, strengthen relationships, bridging gap between people in the rural areas and in the urban centres.
“We will remember this day for the rest of our lives,” he concluded on behalf of the people of Naitasiri.
Lives, Ratu Inoke said. Precious lives that will also become endangered on the new road and the connecting bridge if the people of Navuso are not careful.
There was a greater warning last week on costs involved during fatal road crashes on our roads.
They total up to a huge $30-40 million sum.
Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Timoci Natuva, made the revelation when he officially opened another new road and bridge facility – the four lane Nokonoko road and bridge in Laucala Beach Estate, Suva Saturday last week.
While new bridges and roads revolutionise our lives and bring about changes to the way we will do things daily, Mr Natuva said “we should also exercise responsibility with these changes”.
Sending out a stark reminder about responsible driving, he said motorists and pedestrians must, at all costs, “avoid any form of road accidents, which would eventually incur costs to the already struggling economy”.
“New and better roads have been noted to be an attraction for speeding and I would like to address this point today,” he said. “Road carnages or accidents mean great loss to system and damage infrastructure.”
He advised drivers to drive safely and “preserve local infrastructure”.
“Government has commissioned the first of a series of weighbridges that would be placed at strategic points around the country,” he said.
“This is intended to act as a guide for lorry drivers and heavy laden vehicles on the mandated weight they are supposed to carry, as it has been proven that excess weight has contributed to the fast deterioration of our roads and thus increased the maintenance strain on Government.”
Back in Navuso on Wednesday, Ratu Inoke’s emotion showed when he mingled with government and PRC officials as he and his people celebrated what a good future they will enjoy crossing to Suva and Nausori the straight way.
Elenoa Levula of Navuso said the bridge was something they had longed for, for a long time.
“People took the long route through Qiolevu Road, which runs behind Adi Cakobau School or go by boat or rafts across the river to catch the bus or taxis,” she said. “It’s expensive to do that but now, we are able to save money we can use for other things.”
The new connection will save time and money and we all hope it will also save lives for our relatives from Navuso and that part of Naitasiri Province.

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