At last the new bridge is finished down at the bottom of our Vatuadova village. It has been an excellent project employing some of our relatives. Vatuadova is about 25 minutes drive west of Labasa and is in canefarming territory. In the 60s there were only two houses on this place when we lived there as a cane-farm was developed and we developed Nukutatava.Gradually the family grew until now there are several neat wooden houses and a church. All the families there are our relatives and the numerous neighbours are from Indian background.
The main purpose of the new bridge is to faciliate traffic, not to our village, but because it is on the main route from Labasa to both Nabouwalu and Savusavu. Also all the cane trucks and buses from west of Wailevu village use this road. There once was a train-line route to bring cane to Labasa mill but now there's only road access west of Wailevu.
from the Fiji Times
$1.2m to change 50 year bridge
Monday, November 30, 2009
ENSURING the public travelled on safe roads, government replaced a bridge that has stood for almost 50 years outside Labasa town. The Vatudova bridge built in 1960 cost government $1.2million, including the new road diverting towards the bridge.
In opening the two-lane bridge which is about eight kilometres outside Labasa town last Friday, Mr Timoci Natuva, who is in charge of the Transport and Public Works portfolio, told villagers the bridge provided easier access with its two lanes. "Interestingly, cane farmers will no longer wait on a one-to-one basis to cross the bridge as this two-lane bridge will help them continue the journey to the mill.
"The Look North policy will now be a reality and the infrastructure provided will mean significant changes to your way of life, of business and of growth in all sectors," Mr Natuva said. He challenged the people of the northern division to capitalise on the investments given by Government and make use of the infrastructure provided. This, Mr Natuva said, would ensure that lives of families and individuals were upgraded.
Villagers and people living near the bridge welcomed the upgrade, saying it will ease transportation problems.
Vanuvou villager Setareki Dugulele said since the village was established, transport and road problems had always plagued them.
The article in the Fiji Sun is similar but I'm not sure Mr Natuvu means by the words he says though!
from the Fiji Sun today:
New Vatudova Bridge brings residents hope
11/30/2009 Much relief and excitement was seen in the eyes of the people of Labasa as the Vatudova Bridge was officially opened by the Minister of Public Utilities, Transport and Works, Colonel Timoci Natuva. The old one lane bridge built in 1960s, now has twos lane and a single walk way stream. Work on the construction of this bridge was designed and built by the Department of Works which begun in October, 2008. The Government spent $1.2 million to build the bridge.
Rinieta Ratawa, 52, a resident of Vatudova Village said she was happy and now her fear of crossing the old bridge had been taken away. “I used to feel very scared crossing across the old bridge but now we are safe,” said Mrs Ratawa.
She added that during floods, the bridge used to be covered with water making it impossible for vehicles and people to cross.
Mrs Ratawa said the people of Vatudova are very happy and would like to thank the Government for coming to their rescue.
Mr Natuva said in his speech that the new Vatudova would bring in many benefits.
“Some of the benefits the new Vatudova Bridge promises to bring are the easy access of goods and services from the roll on roll off vessels from Nabouwalu to Labasa,” said Mr Natuva
He added that the expected reduction in waiting time for traffic, allowing for easier transportation of cane from Seaqaqa and parts of Wailevu sectors which costs 32 per cent of the total sugarcane production for the Labasa mill.
“A bridge symbolises connectivity and thus the essence we must espouse on, is to ensure that we rebuild lost relationships,” said Mr Natuva.
He said that the ministry this year and in next four years until 2014 will be upgrading the infrastructure on Vanua Levu to a standard that the people could enjoy.