BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
MAJOR road infrastructure works under Phase two of the Kukum Highway project east of Honiara are due for completion a month before the XVII Pacific Games 2023 in November, according to National Hosting Authority Chair and Special Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Jimmie Rogers.
Dr. Jimmie Rogers said, in fact, that Phase 2 of the Kukum Highway project will be completed by the middle of October this year.
“By the midpoint of October, every roadwork project should be completed. That’s when we hand over the total responsibility to the Games Organizing Committee (GOC).
“Basically, this is for the GOC to do their test runs, tracking, and timing from place to place.
“According to the assurance from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID), by the end of September, the highway from Honiara International Airport to the Fishing Village will be completed. And I think you have seen some improvement recently on the highway from Henderson to Honiara township,” Dr. Rogers said when speaking during SIBC’s Live Radio Talkback Show on Sunday, August 6th.
He said the eastbound lane from the fishing village to the Ranadi roundabout would be light-sealed because they are still working on it.
“After the closing of the Pacific Games 2023, the project road works from the eastbound lane from the fishing village to Ranadi Roundabout will resume, and the contractor will have to dig it up again to complete the sewage system,’’ he said.
He said on the byways (minor feeder roads), due to issues with finance, it will be sorted out later.
“So we are hoping that in September and October, all the tenders for all the roads around Honiara will be put on tender, and so that we have money to come in so that by the end of October all these roads will be done.
“Note that I said that the road to be completed by mid-October is for the main highway and the tributary roads, and other outside roads by the end of October,’’ Dr. Rogers added.
Likewise, he said the MID is trying to provide water taxis so people might go by sea instead of the roads.
“We are also waiting for confirmation from MID that they will operate a water taxi service. So that is something they might be working on, from Point Cruz, central Honiara, to the Ranadi area, east of Honiara.
“This means the road to the water taxi site would also be maintained for effective transportation of people to Games venues and sites,’’ he said.
The Phase 2 project for upgrading of the Kukum Highway costs around $SBD322 million, and will cover the 6.3-kilometre road from the Ministry of Fisheries at Kukum to Honiara International Airport at Henderson.
The project component will include 4 lane roads to Lungga Bridge and a 2-kilometre 2 lane road from Lungga Bridge to the Airport.