The forgotten roads

By Gary Hatigeva

HAZARDOUS potholed roads across Honiara including those in most urban centres in the provinces are ‘forgotten’.

With little or no attention set on a lot of the feeder roads in suburbs and residential areas in and around Honiara City, people are beginning to question whether the government through responsible authorities still have ownership or direct responsibility over them.

These are some of the scathing views and frustrations many residents have raised regarding the status of a lot of their roads.

Frustrations have pointed towards what many described to be continued deterioration of most feeder roads, which are slowing turning into drainage access for running water when heavy rain falls.

A visit to the St Nicholas School goes to prove what have been highlighted, and a lot of those residing around the area especially parents and staff who use the access on a weekly basis, are concerned over the conditions of roads, which is believed to have already caused problems to most of their vehicles.

Meanwhile, a follow up with the Honiara City Council only to be referred to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) as all repairs and maintenance of all roads come under their rehabilitation programs.

Road coming down from the St. Nicholas College inside the Central Honiara Constituency.

However, with no allocation in this year’s budget for any road maintenance or repairs, people are beginning to question the system and MID over its capacity to look after these roads, which they believe received more attention when responsibilities came directly under the HCC.

“MID surely has a lot of bigger projects and contracts to worry about and should therefore give it back to the City Council through its responsible divisions to look after the issue of maintaining and repairing all feeder roads.

“And indeed local residents may well remember that local roads used to be kept in a far better condition.

“This was when Honiara city council acted as the Highways agency for this area and spent the grant funding in areas where local knowledge and experience helped on deciding where limited funds could be spent.

“Since MID took this function away from HCC, the state of our roads has gone from bad to worse, we are now seemingly almost forgotten,” one resident expressed when interviewed regarding this issue.

One of the forgotten roads which has just about 5 percent or less in its value as a road and if no work is done on it soon, could lose its status completely. This
is the same to many other roads around Honiara.

A lot of those interviewed from different suburbs around Honiara have also shared similar sentiments, saying that despite the impact of the recent bad weather, most of the feeder roads experiencing the same situation, have been left in a poor condition, something many agreed have been there for years.

“Our roads and pavements here in Honiara and in the provinces seem to be deteriorating and while I appreciate we’ve had difficult weather, it’s no excuse.

“While this may well be an issue of cuts in funding to local authorities due to decisions from the national government, the issue of potholes and road deterioration is not something that only pops up yesterday, it is a matter that continued to haunt us every day for the last 10 years, especially those of us using vehicles to move around these roads,” a resident from Vura also expressed

In addition, another St Nicholas resident who also asked not to be named however claimed that members of parliament who are seen as the last hope into solving these issues through their ever growing influences and being recipients of machineries for road projects are hopeless.

He said most the parliamentarians use these bad roads almost every day, which is a very unfortunate affair, because they have intentionally chosen to turn blind eyes on them.

“This is because they too are gambling with the people for favour and votes within the election circuit, using a lot of these affected roads as their black jack,” the disappointed resident shared.

The St Nicholas resident interestingly recalled and claimed that the last time he remembered repairs were done to their road was before the last election, and has been ignored to date.

“And I hope it is not repeated this time round knowing that elections are just around the corner, but I urge the general public not to be fooled or deceived by these tricksters with their dodgy political games.

“We only hope that the responsible authorities start getting their acts together and do their job, because we don’t want to see politicians becoming road experts again.”

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