SEVERAL major infrastructure activities in Malaita are included in the World Bank funded Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP).
These include maintenance and improvement of existing sealed and unsealed roads, plus four new bridges on the North Road.
The SIRAP National Steering Committee (NSC) advised at its meeting in February 2021 that procurements for the new Fiu River Bridge and maintenance of unsealed roads on Malaita be given highest priority.
For the unsealed roads, SIRAP will focus on the North Road from the airport turn-off to Dala, and the entire East Road from Dala to Atori.
The bidding period for the design and construction of the new Fiu River Bridge closed in March 2021. A technical and financial bid evaluation report will be completed for final approval by NSC in its meeting later this month.
SIRAP are hopeful that a contract can be signed in coming weeks so that detailed design of the new bridge can start within this second quarter of the year, following by actual construction in early 2022.
The Solomon Islands Government has allocated SB$30m under the Economic Stimulus Package towards the Fiu River Bridge.
The total estimated cost of the Fiu River Bridge is SB$42m with the difference to be funded through the MID 2021 Development Budget.
Meanwhile, the bidding period for the unsealed North and East Roads commenced on 30 March 2021 with national bidders being invited to submit their proposals.
MID and SIRAP held a pre-bid conference on Monday 12 April 2021 and the bidding period will close on 3 May 2021.
The World Bank approved the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) for the Fiu River Bridge in December 2020 and the ESMP for the Malaita Unsealed Roads is nearing completion.
These safeguard documents will ensure the protection of the environment and affected persons during the construction phase.
In parallel with these high priority works, SIRAP have also progressed preparation of bid documents for three small bridges on Malaita North Road, located at Koa, Bio 1 and Bio 2.
The fourth and final works package in Malaita under SIRAP will be the asphalt overlay of the sealed roads in Auki and out to the airport.
Australian-based company SMEC is supporting SIRAP in the procurement of Fiu River Bridge, unsealed roads maintenance, three small bridges, and sealed roads overlay.
A Construction Supervision Services Contract was signed with SMEC last month and availability of its key experts has been confirmed in preparation for construction works commencing in the second half of this year.