Malaita thrives as SIRAP investments progress on transportation infrastructure focusing on safety and resilience
Investments in Malaita under the Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP) and the Second Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP2) are progressing. These projects, in collaboration between the Solomon Islands Government and the World Bank, are contributing to the development of Malaita’s transportation infrastructure, focusing on safety and resilience.
Significant upgrades are currently underway for three crucial bridges on Malaita’s North Road, specifically Koa, Bio 1, and Bio 2, with expectations of completion by early 2024 through the contracted firm, Reeves Envico. Bio 1 and Bio 2 Bridges are being replaced using the InQuik bridge system, an innovative in-situ poured semi-modular reinforced concrete bridge system. It’s noteworthy that this is the first time the InQuik system is being employed in the Pacific, facilitating a swift and efficient construction process. Koa Bridge is also being replaced with a reinforced concrete bridge.
Additionally, progress is being made in the maintenance and enhancement of a 17-kilometer segment of Malaita’s North Road, stretching from Gwanaru’u Junction to Forcim Market. Key preliminary tasks such as vegetation clearance, flushing, and pressure blasting of culverts and drainage channels have already been completed. The responsibility for executing these works has been entrusted to the local firm, Exodus Trade Development Limited. Both projects in Malaita are under the supervision of SMEC, with their dedicated team based in Auki.
Stephen Maesiola, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, has emphasized the importance of road rehabilitation and bridge upgrades in providing improved access to health and education services for the people of Malaita and strengthening connections within the community and businesses. Maesiola expressed his appreciation, stating, “I am pleased to see this work being carried out through the Ministry and would like to thank the World Bank for their support in funding the bridges alongside the rest of SIRAP and SIRAP2.”
Furthermore, SIRAP2 is actively engaged in various other projects, including the construction of four new bridges in Malaita (Kolofe1, Kolofe2, Su’u Harbor, and Bira Bridges), upgrades to Honiara Airport and Santa Cruz (Lata) Airfield, investments in air navigation systems in Makira-Ulawa and Temotu Provinces, and support for regional airport maintenance.