The New Zealand Aid Programme-funded Bailey bridge has opened for traffic, restoring a vital Honiara transport link destroyed during the devastating April floods in Solomon Islands.
The new bridge was installed by Downer New Zealand Limited, with support from local firm Dalgro.
A statement from the New Zealand High Commission Office in Honiara said the bridge components arrived in Honiara on May 20, and pier construction, assembly and installation has been completed in over three weeks.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Marion Crawshaw said New Zealand was very happy to respond to the Solomon Islands Government’s request to restore this critical piece of transport infrastructure.
She said to have the bridge restored just over two months from the Guadalcanal flooding is a good result.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has thanked New Zealand, saying the country is extremely grateful to the Government and people of New Zealand for their generous assistance in the time of great need.
He said the new bridge will support recovery efforts as the country’s economy rebounds from a severe shock.
Meanwhile, the statement adds New Zealand’s contribution to the flood response and recovery in Solomon Islands has totalled approximately to 18-point-5 million Solomon dollars.
It said New Zealand has also provided immediate relief supplies to NGOs, equipment to Solomon Water to enable urgent repairs of water connections, additional funding to Honiara City Council to assist in recovery efforts, two rotations of the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team, and substantial recovery assistance grants to NGOs.
Supporting transport infrastructure is a key pillar of the Solomon Islands-New Zealand Joint Commitment for Development.
It adds, along with the new Chinatown Bailey bridge, New Zealand has invested approximately 1-hundred and 86 million Solomon dollars in priority roads, bridges, runways, and wharf infrastructure across Solomon Islands over the last two years.