Developments In Greater Suva Area

In past articles, I have made lots of reference to all the work going on in the rural areas to provide people with reliable access and improved mobility. Today we
01 Nov 2014 15:36
Developments In Greater Suva Area
Overloaded truck on the road

In past articles, I have made lots of reference to all the work going on in the rural areas to provide people with reliable access and improved mobility.

Today we will look at some of the developments in the greater Suva area, as well as highlighting some of our road users who are having a big negative impact on our roads.

A blast from the past

If you recall, at this time last year, we started at Albert Park and proceeded to strip bare the road right through Victoria Parade, including major upgrades near the port and finally finishing up with Rodwell Road earlier this year.

A project of that magnitude on very busy streets requires good co-ordination and communication between all stakeholders, FRA, contractors, consultants and the utility services providers; not to mention patience and understanding of business owners, road users and pedestrians.

It was an FRA Project, but it made sense to involve the utilities as we all share the same road space.

As a result, the roads were rebuilt, pipes and cables were relocated at the same time and replaced where necessary.

This co-ordinated approach makes it much less likely that a utility operator will need to dig up a recently upgraded road.

Despite the disruptions and detours it was great to have the public’s support.

That short term inconvenience now means that Suva’s main street can withstand another 15-20 years of heavy traffic.

In addition, the improved layout at the port entrance is better for heavy goods vehicles entering and exiting the port.

Another project that is currently underway is the upgrade from the Nausori International Airport all the way to Valelevu, Nasinu.

This road widening project will also see the relocation of water mains, electricity poles and telecom cables where required.

To relocate a utility means laying down new pipes, running new cables, so it is an improvement that benefits us all and  all  this improvement work is being managed in a way that  minimises disruption to the road users and residents.

Still on the Kings Road, from the Valelevu roundabout to the Centre Point Intersection spanning 2.1km will have new modern LED street lighting installed.

The Nasinu area has also had roads rehabilitated and footpaths constructed along some of its busy streets namely Beaumont Road and Nawanawa Road.

The two bridges

There is always interest in Stinson Parade Bridge and Vatuwaqa Bridge. Simply put, both bridges were structurally incapable of continued use and on the brink of collapse. Allowing continued use would put the public at risk.

The good news is construction of these two bridges will start in early 2015 made possible through a grant from the Government of China.  Two things to look forward to in 2015!

With all this progress going on for the benefit of all road users it is perhaps time to turn our focus again to those road users who choose to act in an irresponsible and unsafe manner, not only endangering lives but also threatening the investment that government is making in the road network.

Overloaded trucks

Anyone who regularly uses the Lami – Suva section of Queens Road will see that Fiji is currently experiencing our regular delivery of ‘clinker’ – the sand-like substance that is used for making cement.

How do we know we are getting this delivery? Because those who fill the trucks, those who drive the trucks, and those who take delivery of the product are all turning a blind eye to the fact the trucks are overfilled, for the most part not covered.

Without fail, they leave a trail of debris from the port gates to the cement factory.

This most recent delivery has been the worst I have seen in the past two years.

It is quite clear what the perceived benefits to those involved are; fewer truck journeys equals less cost equals more profit.

But let’s look at the extent of problems and potential problems this practice creates for the wider population.

Firstly and most obviously is the unsightly mess on our roads. Piles of ‘sand’ that blows dust everywhere when it is dry or turns to sludge when it is wet.

That dust is a health hazard to pedestrians and doesn’t do our vehicles much good either when it gets sucked into the engine.

It is very abrasive – it is like sandpaper that rubs the road markings off the surface of the road creating a safety issue and added cost to repaint them.

And how is it cleared up? Workers have to put themselves in live traffic lanes to sweep it into piles then shovel it onto trucks.

Lots of it finds its way into the drains where it can clog the pipes and contribute to flooding like we see near the remand centre at the bottom of Reservoir Road.

We also know that overloaded heavy vehicles are a safety hazard because the suspension comes under increased strain and the braking systems are also compromised.

Long term impacts

Then we get to the long term impacts. Our teams are proud of what we are achieving for Fiji. New roads that should provide great service for years to come.

But overloaded vehicles significantly reduce the potential life of a new road. A road that is designed to last for 20 years may only last 10 years if there is consistent overloading. That is a cost that will come to bear on everyone. ‘Good Corporate Citizen’ is a phrase now in use around the world.

It refers to businesses that do not compromise the rights of the wider population in order to squeeze out a few more dollars of profit.

I have used the example of clinker delivery but this is by no means the only example.

We should all be calling upon our business community to be Good Corporate Citizens and stop turning a blind eye to illegal and unsafe practices that have long term cost impacts on this nation.



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