The Fiji Roads Authority has taken delivery of the first 5 (out of a total of 10) modular bridges from New Jersey in the USA.
In January of this year a small team from the FRA went to Port Newark in New Jersey to inspect the containerized modular bridge components and to conclude negotiations on their purchase and shipment to Fiji.
In a statement today, Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Moore, said these bridges are double width, extra-heavy-duty steel modular bridges that are originally manufactured for a major mining project in Central Africa; but when the mining project collapsed they were left in New Jersey and were available for purchase on the open market.
“When we found out about these bridges we quickly realized how beneficial they would be in the Fiji-wide Bridge Recovery Programme, especially as they were (unusually) 2-lanes wide and were exceptionally durable.”
On this basis, Mr Moore said they expressed their interest and travelled to New Jersey to negotiate and conclude the purchase at a cost that was much-reduced from the normal price of these items.
“The great benefits of these bridges are their ease of transportation and assembly, high strength and durability and the speed of erection.”
He said the other great benefit of these units is that they were originally destined for the mining industry, so they were built to last.
“The structural capacity of these bridges, along with their corrosion resistance means that they can be considered for permanent replacement bridges with an 80-year life.”
Mr Moore said the first five bridges have been received in Suva and will be used, over the next six months, to replace the deteriorating bridges at Waidra, Waibau and Wainibau.
“The remaining five bridges will be arriving at the end of this month, into Lautoka, where they will be stored through the next wet season for emergency deployment should it be necessary if any of the bridge assets are cyclone-affected or damaged. Once we are through the next wet season these bridges will also be deployed as permanent replacements for deteriorating bridges around Fiji,” he said.