Vanua Levu set for major infrastructure overhaul

May 22, 2024 12:37 pm

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the Vanua Levu Roads upgrade project, a transformative initiative under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is slated to begin next year.

Rabuka says the $300 million project aims to enhance infrastructure and stimulate economic growth in one of Fiji’s key regions.

Rabuka provided an update on the project during his ministerial statement in parliament this morning.

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He says the extensive project will upgrade currently unpaved gravel roads, connecting rural villages with paved routes.

“The project will fulfill our objectives to promote economic growth, foster fair distribution of development gains to the population, and improve social conditions, particularly in rural areas. You know, Mr. Speaker, that remote rural and island communities in Fiji are relatively poor and isolated from economic opportunities and social services, particularly when rural access roads and jetties are in poor condition.”

Rabuka says the provision of good-quality roads will ensure better transportation and linkages of quality farm produce to markets, middlemen, traders, and processing plants for export purposes.

He says rural communities residing along the road being upgraded will also have better access to government services and offices.

The Prime Minister says the feasibility study report is now being finalized and will be studied by the China International Development Corporation before work commences.

“Poor road quality hinders access and is costly for those residing in the districts of Nadi, Solevu, and Vuya. The project will complete a major link in the strategic network and provide a fast route for traffic around the island of Vanua Levu.”

The project will see the renovation and extension of roads up to 82 kilometres and the construction of 22 bridges, which will connect 61 villages.

It is anticipated to be completed within 24 to 36 months after the completion of the necessary technical work.