Gov’t seals SBD$70.97 m deal for infrastructure reconstruction on Guadalcanal

THE Government yesterday formalized a contract with an international contractor to implement the reconstruction of seven bridges on Guadalcanal which were damaged by the April 2014 flash floods.

Supervising Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Mr Moses Virivolomo signed the US$9.1 million (SBD$70.97 million) contract with Ma Jianhua, General Manager of China Harbour Engineering Company in Honiara. The occasion was witnessed by the Incoming Regional Director of Asian Development Bank’s Sydney Office, Mr Xiaoqin Fan.

Under the contract, the ADB- supported Transport Sector Flood Recovery Project will implement eight sub-projects, including the reconstruction of three high level bridges of Selwyn College on West Guadalcanal and the Balasuna and Berande bridges on North Guadalcanal.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Virivolomo said the Government recognizes the transport sector as the main driver for economic activities and hopes that the reconstructed bridges would be able to withstand similar natural disasters in the future, thus enabling linkages to markets and other social services to the Honiara to continue.

Prolonged heavy rain and the ensuing flash floods of April 2014 associated with Tropical Cyclone Ita caused severe flooding in Honiara and across Guadalcanal Province causing 23 deaths and affecting more than 52,000 people as major infrastructures, including sewerage systems, water supplies and major roads and bridges were badly damaged or destroyed.

Mr Virivolomo said the Ministry of Infrastructure Development is the executing agency for the project which aims to build more resilient communities by ensuring restored bridges, streams crossings, culverts and bridge approach roads can better withstand more frequent natural disasters and other challenges expected from climate change.

The Project funding is drawn from ADB’s Disaster Response Facility’s US$13.2 million financing while the Solomon Islands Government is committing an equivalent of US$2.36 for the eight projects.