It is official -Vanuatu’s tarsealed roads have almost doubled, from 256 kilometres to more than 400 kilometres thanks to the Vanuatu Millennium Challenge Compact.
The rehabilitation and sealing of 149.7 km of roads on Santo and Efate were completed five months ahead of schedule and on budget.
At the Vanuatu Compact Closure Celebrations of the Efate Ring Road on Eton yesterday, U.S. Ambassador for Vanuatu, PNG, and the Solomon Islands Teddy Taylor gave special thanks to the Vanuatu government for its commitment and leadership, stressing that this commitment from the top, “never wavered regardless of changes to government and coalition groups.”
“Ultimately, we have increased Vanuatu’s sealed roads from 256 kilometers to more than 400 kilometres,” said Ambassador Taylor.
“Completion of the roads means easier access for goods to get to market and for people to get to services such as health and education.USD65.69 million has been provided to upgrade and seal the Efate Ring Road and the Santo East Coast Road. This is a big investment. “
Some of the results and the economic and social benefits of this project which he mentioned are:
During the June 2008 to September 2010 construction period, the roads contractor Downer EDI Works and sub-contractors such as Flametree hired and trained one hundred and sixty-seven (167) ni-Vanuatu full time workers.
The beneficiary income gain attributable to the Vanuatu Transport Infrastructure Project is equivalent to USD $73.8 million over the 20 year life of investment.
It is projected that over the next 20 years, the Efate Ring Road will directly benefit an estimated 16,564 people within a five-kilometer catchment area of either side of the road.
These figures are based on surveys and projections conducted by the National Statistics Office on behalf of MCA-Vanuatu. Of course, we all recognise that many more beneficiaries exist outside this five kilometer area.
In September 2010 traffic counts were conducted and show the Efate Ring Road has exceeded the end of compact targeted increase in daily traffic by 117%.
Surveys to validate the total number of new businesses which have been established along the road are still underway. But it was a pleasure to pass several of them today.
The event was celebrated by Prime Minister Sato Kilman, ministers, heads of Commissions, Diplomatic Corps, Frances Reid and Chris Cookson from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, chiefs, Shefa province president Lami Sope, special guests, men, women and children from all around Efate.
Previously on Monday MCC’s Francis Reid pointed out at the Compact closure on Hog Harbour, Santo that despite two years of extreme weather and earthquakes, Vanuatu met and exceeded the ambitious timelines set under the Compact, especially on the Santo East Coast Road.
The completion of work is inclusive of 30% additional work to extend and widen sealed sections and enhance road safety and sustainability.