The Council of Ministers (COM) has approved for an amount of VT400 million from the Infrastructure Development Fund to be used to renovate roads in urban areas ahead of Vanuatu’s 40th Independence Anniversary.
The original initiative to improve road networks in Port Vila came about because Vanuatu is hosting the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Meeting, scheduled shortly after the independence celebration. However, it is yet to be decided if PIF would be cancelled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When confirming the approval of the VT400 million, National Coordinator of the 40th Independence Anniversary event, Fred Samuel, said upgrade works have already begun in Port Vila with a new road at Colardeau to Independence Park being cleared before it will be sealed.
“Over 100 unemployed locals, mostly those who lost jobs to COVID-19 will be hired including contractors to complete the construction projects,” said Samuel.
“It’s an opportunity to give them a means of income during this difficult time.
“These projects will not only complement our country 40th anniversary but will remain serviceable for years to come.”
Some roads will be resealed while other existing segments will require asphalt pavement and new sealing, such as Teouma to Tamanu road, he said.
Road formation and sealing is required at Vila North Ohlen Mataso, Blandiere core roads, Anabrou, Blacksands, Manples to Blacksands, Malapoa roads and Elluk.
Some road sections that needs asphalt overlay are State House to Joint Court, Tropical Market to Vila Central Hospital to Colardeau and Independence Precinct Road.
The 1.9km Winston Church Hill and Rue General De Gaullie road requires pothole patching and resealing and Chiefs Nakamal. Others such as wharf road roundabout to main wharf, Cemetery to Au Bon Marche, Ministry of Education to Marie Store and Teacher’s College road needs to be resealed.
The majority of the road improvement works will be in the capital, Port Vila where the main and biggest celebration will be held.
However, pothole patching and resealing, light grading and spot improvement and concrete pavement will also be conducted on some main roads in Luganville Town and around Santo.
According to the 40th Anniversary Coordinator, the fund will also be used for repairs and additional works at the Independence precinct which include general upgrade of sound and lighting, toilet and hygiene facilities.
The Independence Grandstand will be upgraded, expanded and temporary scaffolding seats will be installed around the area, he said.
“Tenders have been called for and contracts should be signed soon for works to kick off early June. This new face-lift for the Independence Grant Stand will be a gift from the government to the people this year,” he said.
While the celebrations are still a month and several days ahead, beautification and cleanup activities by the Port Vila Municipal Council are already underway.