The Japanese government and Solomon Islands government today officially opened the new Mataniko bridge and marked the successful completion of the Kukum Highway upgrade project.
The project was launched and signed in may 2015, between the government of Solomon Islands and Japan International Cooperation Agency (SICA), but work on the project physically commenced on September 2016.
Prime Minister Honorable Rick Houenipwela along with senior government ministers and officials, including the Japanese ambassador to the country, His excellency Mr. Shigeru Toyama had the honors to cut the ribbon for the new highway and bridges.
As part of the agreement, the main Mataniko bridge was renamed the ‘Heiwa’ Bridge which means ‘Peace’, the old Mataniko bridge was renamed the ‘ Yuko Bridge’ which means ‘Friendship, while the Kukum highway was named the ‘Hinode’ highway- meaning rising sun.
Delivering his keynote address today, Prime Minister Houeniwpela thanked the Japanese government for the project and urged the public in Honiara to look after the new highway and bridges.
“I ask all users of this tremendous infrastructures to use them wisely , and assist in looking after them, While the ministry of infrastructure and the Honiara City Council will do their part in maintaining these fabulous assets, it is our collective duty and responsibility for us us users of this road to look after it, “he said.
” Do not throw rubbish on it, do not spit betel nut on it, don’t block drains and culverts when you see them, and keep our road clean,” he said.
Meanwhile the Japanese ambassador , Mr Toyama also reiterated the Japanese government’s plan to continue to contribute to the country’s development.
“We are please to contribute to the development of Solomon islands, we are also delighted to have an opportunity to work together with you all to such an important project, i’ll do my best to realize the next project,” he said.
“Ladies and gentlemen from this point of time this highway is all yours. Please remember that it is all your responsibility to take good care of it. You need to set up a well-trained maintenance team, you need to think about a new regulation and rules to keep the highway clean and safe and of course you need to ensure the budget for it”.
By: Lowen Sei.