Road Works And The Infrastructure

What do we all have in common? Essential services infrastructure above, beside, on and under the road! You see the ‘road’ is not just the pavement we travel over that
27 Sep 2014 11:24
Road Works And The Infrastructure

What do we all have in common?

Essential services infrastructure above, beside, on and under the road!

You see the ‘road’ is not just the pavement we travel over that connects us from Point A to Point B.

It is actually a ‘corridor of public land’ in which it is entirely appropriate that all utilities share the space.

Fiji is similar to many countries in as far as the Roads Authority is the custodian of the service corridor but other service providers have access to it.

We view it as a sub-surface environment a surface environment and then above ground environment keeping in mind that we have to make space for each of the utility providers at the same time as maintaining the safety and integrity of the road pavement.

All over the world the general public cries out for the various service providers to work together more effectively so we don’t see newly reconstructed roads dug up by other utilities installing services.

I have commented many times that if we get this right in Fiji, we will be the first country to do so! But getting it right is exactly what we are all striving for.

Since FRA was established we have had some good success and we are particularly pleased with improvements in traffic management.

Safety is paramount in everything we do and it was most important to ensure that Utility companies working on the road adopted the same safety approach.

We still have some way to go but the coming together of all utilities providers to commit to improvement is heartening.

The long term desired approach is for all of us to align our respective future works programs.

For example FRA needs to understand when the water pipes under a section of road are due for replacement. In order to tell us this WAF needs the resources and systems in place to understand the condition of their assets.

We do not want to build a road that should last 25 years on top of water pipes that are expected to fail in the next five years.

We only reach this understanding with excellent knowledge of our assets and a commitment to work together to improve overall service delivery.

From our perspective we understand that in a lot of ways FRA has it much easier than WAF.

Our assets are generally visible and assessing their condition is much easier than assessing the condition of underground pipes; especially since the historic records may not record accurately where the pipes are or when they were installed.

Utilities Code of Practice

One example of the industry working together is in the development of a Utilities Code of Practice which we are developing with the support of the other utilities providers.

The Code sets out conditions on digging up and reinstating roads, depth of the services and cost sharing on relocations.

The code of practice will standardise processes and make it easier for all parties who work in the road corridor.

Collectively as group of essential infrastructure providers we can only be as strong as the weakest link.

We need to move forward together and improve practices and processes across the board.

Only in this way can we ensure that the practices of one provider don’t hinder the progress of others.

Working together to improve practice means less waste, greater efficiency and ultimately better services delivered in a more cost-effective way for Fiji.

Neil Cook is the CEO of the Fiji Roads Authority. This is his regular column be published by the Fiji Sun on Saturdays.


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