Critical infrastructure helps promote economic growth and provides access to vital services in Fiji

Nakabuta Bridge - Mabey Bridge
Nakabuta Bridge - Mabey Bridge
Nakabuta Bridge - Mabey Bridge
Nakabuta Bridge Opening - Mabey Bridge
  • Infrastructure, Construction, Transport
  • Bridging, Engineering and Project Services
  • Fiji

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Jamie Clifton

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Fiji has a fairly well-developed transport infrastructure, with a reasonably comprehensive system of bridges and highways on the main islands. However, more than half of Fiji’s population lives in rural communities, and whilst the main road network is fairly well developed, these communities are geographically isolated and served by roads which are heavily affected by tropical weather systems – heavy rainfall and flooding – as well as natural disasters. This causes damage to the infrastructure, disruption to the transport network and impacts rural access for local communities.

The Fijian government recognises that transport infrastructure plays an important role in local economic development. It is focused on connecting and unifying communities by improving the road infrastructure across the country. The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA), which is responsible for planning, developing and maintaining Fiji’s road infrastructure, has plans to improve 100 of the most critical bridges across the country over the next few years. The old Nakabuta bridge, which was situated in a tropical bushy region of the country, was one of the bridges identified for improvement.

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Looking for a sustainable and innovative solution, the FRA decided that the Nakabuta bridge should be replaced. The replacement bridge needed to be quick to install, and cost-effective in comparison to concrete. The Compact 200™ was selected as the best solution for the project. From start to finish, the new 29 metre bridge was completed in 3 months by contractors Fletcher Construction. Local labourers from the area were also involved in the project, helping with the build and installation of the new bridge.

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The new Nakabuta Bridge offers villagers the opportunity to improve their lives through improved access to health services and schools. It also gives local farmers access to markets further afield, laying the foundations for further regional development, and helping improve the economy of the region.

The bridge was officially commissioned by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in September 2017. During his visit, the Prime Minister confirmed that the new bridge would promote economic growth and provide vital access. At the opening ceremony Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said; “The FRA has more than 100 critical bridges to replace and very little time to get work done given the state of some of these bridges. To meet this challenge they have begun using bailey modern bridges like the one you see here. These bridges can be installed in a relative short time and cost much less than the fixed bridge. As for this bridge we spent $1.6m to build it which is a fraction of what a concrete bridge would have cost and what’s more is that this bridge was completed in three months.”

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