Public Works want VT300 million to tar seal roads

With wet season rains damaging roads, the Public Works Department says it will request VT300 million to tar seal major roads in Vanuatu’s two biggest towns – Port Vila and Luganville.

Public Works Communications Officer, Antoine Malsungai, said the department needs a budget of around VT300 million to permanently fix roads in Port Vila and Luganville and will request as part of 2021 Supplementary Budget in this year’s first parliament.

“For the past 23 years, we have been doing only temporary road repairs, and there hasn’t been any proper tar sealing of roads except for the Airport to Numbatu area main road in Port Vila,” Malsungai said.

“But other roads such as in the Stade area will need to be re-tar sealed so they can remain in a good state for the next 20 years.”

With wet season and La Niña heavy rains this year, the Public Works Department says complaints about poor roads are on the rise.

In the Port Vila area and on Santo, VBTC has witnessed a big decline in the condition of roads in areas such as Bladinia, Anamburu, Olen, Beverly Hills and Malapoa; and in villages such as Pango and Erakor.

Frustrated by long waits for road repairs, in some areas, communities have taken initiatives to fix their own roads.

On Santo the taxi association has coordinated road repairs in Luganville and the Banban community has worked with its local council and business sector to repair the Banban road.

In Port Vila, communities in the Bladinia and Malapoa areas have raised funds or worked to patch roads in their areas.

The Public Works Department says heavy rains over the past few months have delayed their road repairs, but social media posts from the public say the problems are long-running and better solutions are needed.

“People have to understand that we cannot control the weather, because, as with construction work, when it rains we cannot work – if there is rain, work has to stop,” Malsungai said.

“We ask people to co-operate with us, we have not turned a blind eye to them. We consider all complaints and are doing everything possible to solve the issues.”

Since last week, Shefa Public Works has started work on some temporary road fixing in Port Vila and neighbouring villages.

And, Mr Malsungai says an evaluation panel met last week to select a contractor to tar- seal roads in the Anamburu area. Negotiations are also underway to tar seal three kilometres of road in the Bladinia area.


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