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‘Grand Vision’ Makes Namaka The Business Centre Of Nadi

In October 2014, work started on the construction of the Nadi four lane highway, a design that was to replace the existing old and inadequate two lane Queen’s Highway. This
10 Dec 2016 11:00
‘Grand Vision’ Makes Namaka The Business Centre Of Nadi
Roadworks leading from Votualevu Round about leading to Namaka.

In October 2014, work started on the construction of the Nadi four lane highway, a design that was to replace the existing old and inadequate two lane Queen’s Highway.

This was in the Namaka and Martintar area of Nadi.

The plan for the four lane section was to run from the Nasoso turnoff, right through to Wailoaloa Road (where the Sitar Restaurant is located) and then split into two separate two lane roads.

One was going straight ahead to Nadi Town and the other swinging off to the right and sweeping through to Denarau Road at Narewa Junction.

This was a “grand vision”, to create an outstanding entry to Fiji from the international airport.

This was a highway of world standard design and construction and a road that would remove all the difficult traffic bottlenecks during peak periods.

Including the speed movement in and through the eight kilometre area and bring new freedom to residents and business.

The government committed the huge capital funding and support needed to achieve the vision and everyone was excited and waited for the miracle to happen.

The company chosen to create the new world class road system was Higgins, a New Zealand organisation very experienced in this sort of work.

What was about to happen would not be a miracle, but a vast amount of hard work, a very skilled and dedicated workforce, constant attention to detail.

Also the support of the people in the area who would be disadvantaged from time to time in spite of Higgins “best practice policies” and a fair degree of luck.”

 

Nasoso Junction to the Votualevu roundabout

The first section from the Nasoso Junction to the Votualevu roundabout, a distance of approximately two kilometres, was completed in just under a year.

The road users had a glimpse of what was to come.

The progress was slow initially as much of the public infrastructure including sewer, water TFL lines and FEA had to be upgraded.

In many cases there were no accurate plans of where the public infrastructure had been located in the past.

Unfortunately in some cases the infrastructure was so badly damaged that full sections had to be replaced, work which was not allowed for in the original schedule.

However with some serious Higgins team overtime, they were able to stay close to the plan.

 

Votualevu roundabout to Namaka Industrial Estate Junction

While road construction was in hand on the first section, preparation was underway on the next section.

This was from the roundabout right through to the Namaka Industrial Estate Junction.

Some of the underground issues were rectified when work on these roads started, however in some cases certain areas needed to be dug up, work done and then filled – only to be reopened later.

Many people wondered why this happened but often there were two different entities (sometimes more) that needed to attend to underground issues in the same area.

But works could not done at the same time because certain adjustments had to be made first in some other place.

Higgins were determined to ensure underground works were completed prior to surfacing works, as the integrity of the surface is compromised if dug up after surfacing work is complete.

This, in the long run would cause issues around surface durability and life.

Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in early 2016, and although the Nadi road project was not directly impacted, the cyclone did create significant project delays.

The day after Winston struck, Higgins left the Nadi site with most of their workers and equipment and moved into the worst hit areas to help clear and restore roads, bridges and crossings and open the area to the delivery of material and resources needed to start rebuilding.

Many staff left their own families and were in the field for up to three weeks non-stop on this mission, before returning to the Nadi site.

Higgins were able to pick up most of the lost time caused when power reticulation in the area of the road construction had to be moved underground because of learnings from Winston.

This activity was not part of the original planning. While this was an issue, it was considered an imperative if the area was to have a secure power supply.

 

Last section: Namaka Industrial Estate to the Wailoaloa junction

The next two sections are now well advanced, leaving only the last section from Namaka Industrial Estate to the Wailoaloa junction, an area where work has recently started.

The fully finished four lanes, plus all the off roads and service lanes will be completed up to Namaka Market by Christmas, and Higgins are hopeful the progress may be even further advanced by then.

There was a certain amount of discomfort caused to the motorists and businesses in the area.

Once the sections open all that will be forgotten and the ease, speed and comfort of the new roads will be great reward for the patience that the public have shown in the construction period.

And what a difference it has made to the area.

Namaka is now the business centre of Nadi, with new projects blossoming and more in the planning stages.

New offices and shops are happening, there are a number of government services relocated to Namaka and a feeling of promise, excitement and style is evident.

 

Development and growth

With the growth of residential areas of Votualevu, Nasoso and Legalega in close proximity to Namaka, the demand for these services is growing rapidly.

The new Nadi International Airport expansion brings another world class facility into the area, and there are plans for wider development in the CAAF compound land.

Close to the Nasoso turnoff there are vast new warehouses and large tracts of industrial land opening up, enlarging the commercial importance of the area and all being supported by the new road system.

The new bypass road from Wailoaloa to Denarau has been in service for nearly six months.

It is drawing traffic away from Nadi Town, helping to reduce the heavy congestion there, and the new Denarau Bridge will be operating by Christmas.

The Government’s vision for the area is now a reality.

Higgins has established their roading presence in the west and demonstrated their ability to provide world class roading services to Fiji.

They have employed a large number of locals, both skilled and unskilled and have had them working alongside very experienced expats.

Higgins has a policy of ensuring staff are constantly upskilled, building a strong human resource pool for Fiji.

There has been a huge transfer of knowledge and skill to Fijian staff.

 

Community Assistance

When Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji earlier this year, Higgins was quick to react, implementing a Response Plan and donating $300,000 to the cause.

Along with helping with the clean-up efforts to clear roads, reinstating bridge approaches swept away and restoring amenities, Higgins initiated a programme to rebuild the homes of its staff that were destroyed.

This represented 10 full rebuilds and 12 half builds.

Higgins has implemented other initiatives including donating computers to schools, providing community rubbish bins, sponsoring sports events and contribution to a Nadi Orphanage.

 

Higgins

Higgins was contracted by Fiji Roads Authority in 2013 to maintain the roads in the Western Division of Viti Levu.

Since 2013 Higgins has invested more than $15 million in Fiji in the form of property, machinery and resources, including an Asphalt Plant.

They currently employ around 275 staff, the majority are locals and they source as much materials as they can from Fiji suppliers.

Higgins is committed to working alongside Fijian business to achieve the best results for Fiji.

Higgins has recently become part of the Fletcher Building Group and plan to be a long-term operator in Fiji.

With their demonstrated capacity in their area of operation, the future of Fiji road infrastructure looks strong.


John Ross is a Nadi-based marketing and advertising specialist with a long background in tourism. For feedback on this article, please email him: johnrossfiji@gmail.com

 

 

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