Higgins In Fiji: 2018 And Beyond

Roading infrastructure company Higgins has been on the move around Fiji, boosting their on-the-ground capacity with significant investment in new state of the art machinery and equipment. The company is
22 Dec 2018 10:00
Higgins In Fiji: 2018 And  Beyond
Higgins recently upgraded the Taveuni Airport runway.

Roading infrastructure company Higgins has been on the move around Fiji, boosting their on-the-ground capacity with significant investment in new state of the art machinery and equipment.

The company is one of New Zealnd’s leaders in the industry, operating from its headquarters in the North Island city of Palmerston North.

It has recently bought in some impressive heavy machinery to increase the capacity of their sealing operations.

These include: a Bulk Bitumen Truck and Trailer, three new spreader trucks, a Bitumen Sprayer equipped with the latest technology and large transporters to move all of this impressive equipment around Fiji’s at times challenging landscape.

Higgins Fiji project manager James Walsh says the advanced technology in this new equipment provides international level industry best standards.

“This is plant (gear) of the highest quality, giving us more automation in our processes which improves safety, quality and productivity,” Mr Walsh said.

He says the company is also investing in continued training for staff, focusing on consistently upskilling local team members and in turn their career development.

One of the highlights for the company this year was winning the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) Road Corridor Maintenance contract for Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki. Maintenance engineer Adam Lyall says has given them the opportunity to continue their partnership with FRA.

“We are looking forward to making great improvements to Kings Road over the next 12 months, with FRA, making a safer and smoother road for our travelling public,” he says.

“We have a keen and hardworking maintenance team who are willing to go the extra mile to make a safe roading network for Fiji.”

This year Higgins provided significant support role to FRA all over the Western division in flood recovery work including damage from Cyclone Gita, Cyclone Josie and Cyclone Keni.

Mr Lyall says: “Our teams helped many remote communities who were cut off by flooding to gain access to help and supplies.

“Work like this is hugely rewarding and working alongside the FRA gives us excellent operational guidance, meaning we can really be on our game when we are needed.”


S3 Kings Road in Suva

Higgins commenced their contract on the S3 Kings Road in Suva on November 1, 2018.

Significant progress on the project has been undertaken to date with sealing on the first sections of road planned just prior to Christmas.

Mr Walsh says the team have been working closely with the FRA to achieve the desired outcome for the motoring public who have put up with traffic congestion on this road for so long.


“We will be working through the Christmas/New Year holiday period to try and get as much work done as possible. Hopefully the weather plays along,” he says.

“We are also very much focused on ensuring a finished product of high quality that will provide a pleasant driving experience and lasting value for the community.”


Other projects

Other projects around the country include the recently completed resealing of 34 kilometres of road in Taveuni, along with line marking, drainage, pavement repairs and speed humps.

While on the island, the Higgins crew also completed the full reseal of the Taveuni Runway for Fiji Airports which Mr Walsh says made a huge improvement to the facility, giving extension of the runway life and hence saving on ongoing maintenance.

When asked of the challenges of such a project Mr Walsh says one word sums it up: “Logistics, Logistics, Logistics.

“All heavy machinery and materials had to be barged from VitiLevu, including 650,000 litres of Bitumen from Technics and 7,000m3 of aggregate from GoldRock, 120 tons of cement and 7,000 litres of paint.”

But he says the difference made after a job well done is worth the effort.

“Seeing the improvement in the entire sealed road network, giving everyone a better surface to drive on makes our teams proud at the end of the day, and the stunning scenery and amazing helpful locals made that project really great.”

He says getting the heavy machinery required for such projects to such places is one of the challenges roading infrastructure companies face.

And transporting the valuable equipment on over water and to isolated areas with narrow roads takes a lot of planning and teamwork.

But he says there are positives to working in these areas too.

“So many of the places we get to work in are just stunning, sometimes you look up and think ‘wow, this is just so beautiful – now this is an office with a view!”

And he says working with their local staff and within the Fijian communities is a wonderful experience.

“Our staff are hardworking and always ready to learn and continue to grow their skills.

“And the people are a pleasure, they don’t call it ‘friendly Fiji’ for nothing, even when there might be a bit of a backlog during tricky projects they always wave and smile, it just makes our jobs so much easier.

“I really want to thank the Fijian community for their patience and assistance when they encounter us on the roads.

“It has been a great year for our Higgins team here and we are looking forward to bringing our trademark attention to detail and quality to all of our ongoing and upcoming projects in the New Year.

“Vinaka and happy holidays to all.”


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