Country’s most important section of road now bigger and better
APIA, August 22, 2016 – The extension of Vaitele Street in Apia was officially opened today by Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, and Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific. As Samoa’s first four-lane, dual carriageway, Vaitele Street is considered the country’s most important section of road, connecting economic activities from Apia and the Port of Apia, to Faleolo International Airport and the country’s inter-island ferry.
“Good road infrastructure is fundamental to a better standard of living. It means faster and easier access to schools, hospitals, jobs and markets and this is especially true for Vaitele Street,” said Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa. “This road widening and strengthening is providing more reliable transport options for Samoans now and going forward.”
Like most other Pacific Island countries, Samoa is vulnerable to extreme weather and the threat of climate change. Tropical cyclones, heavy rain and flooding are relatively common across Samoa, damaging roads and bridges, and accelerating the standard wear and tear.
Vaitele Street roadworks were done with a focus on future resilience to the effects of weather and natural hazards and included widening the road to four lanes, multiple pedestrian crossings, lighting and drainage.
“Some 90,000 Samoans live in the northwest Upolu region and use Vaitele Street to get to work, family, school or shops,” said Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific. “The Australian Government is proud to have contributed to these roadworks, supporting Samoa’s economic and social prosperity.”
The Vaitele Street roadworks are part of the World Bank-financed Enhanced Road Access Project, restoring key roads across the country that have been damaged by extreme weather, making them more climate resilient for the future. The works are funded through a US$15 million grant from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), a US$5 million grant from the World Bank’s Crisis Response Window, and AU$13 million from the Government of Australia, through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) and the Australia Pacific Islands Partnership.