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Australia-Solomon Islands partnership delivers infrastructure repairs in West Guadalcanal

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The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID), Moses Virivolomo, and the Australian High Commissioner, Andrew Byrne, inspected the completed flood repairs in West Guadalcanal on Thursday 18 September 2014.

Bridge approaches and other crossings on the West Guadalcanal Highway were washed out during the floods in April, cutting access to Honiara for thousands of people between Kakambona and Lambi.

Following the flood emergency, MID engineers moved quickly to identify necessary repairs and to engage contractors. MID was assisted by donor partners, including engineers from the Australian Civilian Corps and Australian Defence Force.

Two contractors - Bisivotu Ltd and Trades Transformation Ltd – undertook the repair works at a cost of around $5 million. These repairs were completed in July allowing traffic to flow freely between Honiara and Lambi. The works included rebuilding bridge approaches at various locations such as Tanavasa, Tomba, Sasa and near Selwyn College.

These repair works were funded by the Australian and Solomon Islands Governments through the National Transport Fund.

Mr Virivolomo and High Commissioner Byrne were impressed with the scale of the repairs.

“The floods had a major impact on transport infrastructure in Guadalcanal Province and in Honiara. I am proud that our staff and contractors were able to respond quickly and thank Australia for its ongoing support,” said Mr Virivolomo.

“The Australian Government is very pleased by the results of our emergency assistance to Solomon Islands, including an additional $26 million we have provided to the National Transport Fund,” said Mr Byrne.

“Our success in quickly repairing the road and bridges in West Guadalcanal is a very clear sign of the strength of our partnership, particularly in transport,” said Mr Byrne.

The National Transport Fund has been central to MID’s response to the floods. It funded the repairs to the New Mataniko Bridge and is funding other repair works in Honiara, Guadalcanal and Makira.