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EDITORIAL: Bridge Sets Standards For Future Developments

For those who use the Kings Road a lot  from Korovou to Rakiraki and beyond, the opening of new Rakiraki Bridge is  welcomed and a great relief. They do not
14 Oct 2015 10:30
EDITORIAL: Bridge Sets Standards For Future Developments

For those who use the Kings Road a lot  from Korovou to Rakiraki and beyond, the opening of new Rakiraki Bridge is  welcomed and a great relief.

They do not have to endure any more the bumpy, rough and dusty gravel road drive in a detour through the Fiji Sugar Corporation access road to Rakiraki Town and exit the other side of Rakiraki Village.

The drive from Korovou to Rakiraki is now smooth and beautiful. As you head into the Ra Province and go through the coastal portion, the picturesque view out to sea is stunning and therapeutic. On a lovely sunny day, it looks magical as you see the islands off the coast of Ra and the peace and tranquility of the area. It has its own unique spiritual essence that brings joy and relief to the soul.

But as you approach Rakiraki Village, the mood changes. There is a feeling of déjà vu as you are about to hit the rough detour route, though only for a small distance. It’s enough to put off motorists from travelling the Kings Road to go to Suva.

Now that nightmare is over. The opening of the new bridge yesterday will attract people and investment to this region.

There is so much untapped potential in Ra and this road will act as a catalyst to exploring and utilising this potential. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the bridge had been built to last 100 years. That’s good news because we see that some structures that were built a long time ago are still standing today because they were built to last.

One hundred years is a long time and the money used to build it, $13.9 million, is a lot to spend for one bridge. But the benefits it will bring to the region will multiply the $13.9 million so many times. In the long term, it will pay dividends. It will help people get out of poverty and become participants in the economic developments.

Mr Bainimarama promises he will crack down on shoddy workmanship in the construction of public roads, buildings and structures. He uses the PM’s Office as a perfect example.

“There is nothing new about the so-called new wing of Government Buildings. It isn’t just one of the ugliest structures in Suva. It is so badly designed and the quality of workmanship is so poor that it really needs to be demolished and replaced after less than 50 years of service,” he said.

“It stands next to the magnificent Old Government Buildings which has been there from the 1930s and will still be there in 100 years. Because it was built properly. It was built to last.”

Those are the key words “built to last.” Some of our roads were built like the notorious New Wing.  The Bau Road in Tailevu which was tarsealed many years ago is now only a shadow of its former glory. It’s deteriorated to such an extent that it has gone back to a gravel road. Obviously it must have cost too much to restore it to its original state. Then there is the Burebasaga Road in the Rewa delta, which has suffered the same fate.

If they and others were built to the same standards and specifications that Mr Bainimarama referred to, they would not have deteriorated to their current state.

He is justifiably concerned that the huge investment we are currently making in upgrading our roads and bridges. While he says it  is money well spent, he discloses that some of the new work hasn’t been entirely up to scratch.

He has put all of our contractors on notice that they need to do better.

“When Fijian taxpayers plough hundreds of millions of dollars into upgrading the nation’s roads and bridges, they are entitled to get the best possible result,” he says.

He will not tolerate shoddy workmanship on our roads, bridges and any capital project.

Mr Bainimarama once again has shown his no-nonsense approach to developments that directly impact on people. He sets the benchmark for us to follow. The message is clear: It’s excellence over  mediocrity.

 

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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