NEW Zealand High Commissioner Marion Crawshaw says her government was pleased to see the Mataniko bridge destroyed by the April 3 flash flood, restored.
The New Zealand-funded bailey bridge opened for traffic yesterday – restoring a vital Honiara transport link.
The new bridge was installed by Downer New Zealand Limited, with support from local firm Dalgro.
The bridge components arrived in Honiara on May 20, and pier construction, assembly and installation has been completed in little over three weeks.
Ms Crawshaw remarked:
“New Zealand was very happy to respond to the Solomon Islands Government request to restore this critical piece of transport infrastructure.
“To have the bridge restored just over two months from the Guadalcanal flooding is a good result.”
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has thanked New Zealand.
“We are extremely grateful to the Government and people of New Zealand for their generous assistance in our time of great need.
“The new bridge will support recovery efforts as our economy rebounds from a severe shock,” he said.
New Zealand’s contribution to the flood response and recovery in Solomon Islands has totalled approximately SB$18.5 million.
New Zealand also provided immediate relief supplies to NGOs, equipment to Solomon Water to enable urgent repairs of water connections, additional funding to Honiara City Council to assist in recovery efforts, two rotations of the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team, and substantial recovery assistance grants to NGOs.
Supporting transport infrastructure is a key pillar of the Solomon Islands-New Zealand Joint Commitment for Development.
In addition to the new Chinatown Bailey bridge, New Zealand has invested approximately SBD$186 million in priority roads, bridges, runways, and wharf infrastructure across Solomon Islands over the last two years.