Progress continues on replacement of Malaita bridges under SIRAP Project
The replacement of three vital bridges in Malaita, Solomon Islands, is making steady headway under the Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP). The Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID), in collaboration with the World Bank, is overseeing the road component of the project.
Recent advancements include the successful completion of pile driving activities at all three bridge sites – Koa, Bio-1, and Bio-2 – situated on the North Road. Contractor Reeves Envico has reached this significant milestone, and they are currently engaged in high strength concrete trials. The upcoming concrete works, slated for September 2023, mark the next phase of the project.
All necessary materials for the bridge superstructures have been successfully delivered to the country. The final shipment of bridge decking units is expected to arrive at the construction site in the near future. Although weather-related delays were experienced, primarily due to adverse conditions in Malaita, the project remains on course for its projected completion by the end of February 2024.
In an innovative approach, modular components have been adopted for the construction of these bridges. This strategy, a first for Solomon Islands, involves prefabricated formwork and reinforcing, which is assembled on-site and subsequently filled with concrete. This methodology allows for efficient and cost-effective construction, delivering robust and reliable cast concrete bridges.
Stephen Maesiola, Permanent Secretary for MID, expressed his satisfaction with the project’s progress. He extended gratitude to the World Bank for its support in funding these essential infrastructure improvements. “I am pleased to see this important work being carried out through the Ministry. I would like to thank the World Bank for funding these bridges alongside the rest of the many other sub-projects within SIRAP. The replacement of these bridges will provide easier access to health and education, help Malaitans grow business and trade opportunities and lead to better connected communities.”
The Solomon Islands Government is concurrently implementing the Second Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP2) in conjunction with SIRAP. This complementary initiative will see the construction of four additional bridges in Malaita, namely Kolofe1, Kolofe2, Su’u Harbor, and Bira Bridges. SIRAP2 encompasses a broader scope, encompassing various infrastructure upgrades within the road and aviation sectors. The Ministry of Communication and Aviation is partnering in these efforts, which include road upgrades in Noro, enhancements to the Honiara International Airport Runway and Santa Cruz (Lata) Airfield, investments in air navigation systems in Makira-Ulawa and Temotu Provinces, and support for regional airport maintenance.