Fiji has a long history of it transportation sector from railway tracks to roads. The existence of transportation infrastructure dates back to the colonial period of Fiji.
The Queens Road is the main arterial for tourists and vehicles. The route is approximately 197 kiliometers from Lautoka to Suva, is two laned and was in a deteriorating state due as well as severely congested sometimes. The route gives the essential access to Nadi International Airport and the various resorts along the palm-bordered, white sand south-western coastline known as the Coral Coast. It is additionally an imperative course for the transportation of sugar that is developed in Lautoka, Fiji’s second biggest town. Around 15, 000 vehicles as of now travel the road every day.
Furthermore, the first railroads on Fiji were 2ft 6in (762mm) gauge lines developed for the haulage of sugar cane. The principal steam train worked in 1882. Consequent advancement of the system on the two principle islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu was mostly to 2ft (610mm) gauge. At its most extreme degree there were more than 700km of line. By a course of action with the administration, a free passenger service operated once or twice a week on major routes, yet this service was pulled back in 1973. Moreover, in the early years of the 21st century continuously more sugar cane movement was exchanged from rail to road, prompting traffic congestion on roads, and additionally issues of contamination and requests on outside trade assets to pay for imported fuel. By 2009 just approximately 590km of the system stayed being used. In this manner the legislature asked the Fiji Sugar Corporation, as proprietors and administrators of the railroad, to restore track and trains and to empower the transport of sugar-cane by rail. Nearly the entire of the first system is currently again being used and conveys at any rate half of the aggregate sugar production. A traveler train, reproducing the free train, works over an area of line at Sigatoka on the south shore of Viti Levu. This was for several years operated by a steam locomotive yet is currently now usually diesel pulled.
Nonetheless, there is an optimistic approach towards upgrading of roads and railway system in Fiji. Due to the increase in population, Fiji is prone to making advancements in its roads and railways transportation sector.
The road infrastructure, is a basic component for national advancement and the development that accompanies modernisation. Over the past years roads have been the most significant fabricated resource that Fiji claims since it gives the most essential connection between the provincial and urban towns, settlements and urban communities. However, Fiji needs to further enhance the transportation infrastructure to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal. The current transport system in Fiji is not performing to its standards as there is a dire need for a thorough overhaul to make it resilient and sustainable. During rain and storm the downpour causes pot-holes seemingly everywhere throughout the place and this sums up to the!demand of updating existing infrastructure and transport system. During the past years, the demand for vehicles has greatly surpassed the supply, thus the present land transport framework is not functioning well.
Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has around 7, 000 kms of roads and 1, 200 scaffolds and wharfs in Fiji yet traffic congestion has become a growing concern. The quantity of roads is not sufficient because there is a lack of quality standards to ensure sustainability. However, a positive approach is possible towards the improvement of transportation infrastructure in Fiji. The demand for better roads has risen due to the occupancy of more vehicles, hence in the event that the demand of the public is controlled then the supply can be managed proficiently. This would lessen the quantity of transports going and in addition lessen traffic congestion. There is a solid requirement for a more viable and manageable transport framework in Fiji in order to accomplish the SDG 9 and 11
Moreover, in the year 2015 and 2016, more than 15000 new vehicles were enrolled in and the aggregate number of vehicles on the roads was 110, 763 a development of around 10% from the earlier year. Unless the demand was not changed, the same or equivalent or more was expected in 2017. Fiji needs to enhance the current road network to facilitate the interest on vehicle framework. There is a need for an evaluation about what is the ideal number of vehicles that can be managed on Fiji’s present road framework or what new transportation strategy is required with the end goal to facilitate the current traffic congestion. Travelling is now a hardship faced by many due to the present poor conditions of roads. Transport centers were created in the country to help with traffic congestion as these vehicles transporting individuals to the centers would not use main roads. Fiji Taxi Association general secretary Rishi Ram stated that there was a great number of cars imported into the nation despite the fact that Fiji had a small road infrastructure to cater for it. Employment of laborers was also needed to optimize road updates with the goal that the traffic congestion did not turn into a typical issue from Suva to Nadi. As at April 2017, FRA had finished repairs and substitutions on 10 out of the 13 bridges and intersections. Currently, countless road infrastructure in Fiji have been distinguished as basic or high need for repair or substitution and an arrangement has been set up to deal with these basic frameworks
The Queens Road (Nadi to Suva route) currently is improving as the Fiji Roads Authority has continued to target reconstruction sections of the road. FRA has been concentrating on basic areas of the Queens Road highway with up and coming projects ready for fulfillment, including Matanivusi Hill, the Navua Hospital zone and Nabukavusi alongside remedial works through Wainadoi. (Fiji Sun Online, 2018)The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) declared that Higgins (Fiji) Limited had been granted the Nadi N2 Road Upgrading Project that would see a huge change to an aggregate of 6kms of road in Nadi within two years of time. The project has been estimated to cost approximately $65. 9 million. The undertaking is part of the Nadi and Suva Road Upgrading Program that the Government had endorsed in 2012 considering the numerous advantages it would give to the nation. The aim of the Nadi and Suva Road Upgrading Program is to enhance the global doors to Fiji and the overhauled roads would turn into an appealing welcome to both the residents and the tourists. Also, the completion of this program will bring included advantages, for instance, decreased travel times and traffic congestion for travellers. Majority of the road enhancements will incorporate better pedestrian crossings, street lighting, and updated transport infrastructure such as new bus stops to facilitate proper traffic flow which would provide relief to everyday travelers along the route. The agreement grant represents expansion of road along Queens Road from Naisoso Junction to Wailoaloa Junction.
FRA General Manager Network Operations and Maintenance Aram Goes stated that the deformed surfaces of roads which has weakened over the years due to stress load from heavy vehicles would be removed. The method FRA has chosen is the Mill and Fill technique which will require removal of the current asphalt, cleaning and application of a membrane seal and then the placement of a new asphaltic solid layer top. The road has been tested for quality with just detached segments recognized as requiring basic asphalt repairs before the surfacing treatment. These weaker segments were completely uncovered and remade before the new asphaltic solid surface was connected. A portion of alternate works incorporated installation of new signs and line marking.
A list of 137 priority projects had been identified in order to solve the issues related to transport network. The project underwent being shared amongst stakeholders, technical assessment tests and an evaluation framework to be prioritized. About one billion of an investment has been placed in this projects for the next 15 years and seven key projects were identified in the study. Firstly, dedicated bus lanes whereby a section of the road is entirely dedicated to buses only which would include bus jump lanes at intersections giving buses priority over vehicles. Secondly, improved bus terminals, that is Suva and Nadi terminals need an upgrade to cater for future growth. Thirdly, linked traffic signals along Suva to Nadi corridor. This will allow traffic flow and management of available road capacity. Fourthly improved pedestrian crossing with proper lighting and foothpaths. Fifthly, enforcement as it will bring about an improvement in traffic flow and lower carbon emissions. Sixthly, 31 intersection upgrades and lastly, planning with regards to future road capacity designs and data collection.
Fiji has anchored a huge railroad framework advancement help from the Indian Government amid Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s authentic visit to the World Sustainable Development Summit held in New Delhi, India from the 15 – 17 February, 2018. The Indian Minister for Railways, Hon. Piyush Goyal and the Attorney-General communicated about the pressing requirement for altering the current Fijian railroad arrange to not just be used by the sugar industry but to extend its usage for transporting of ordinary travelers and loads. Utilizing an upgraded railway system in such a way will ease weight on the roads in Fiji and is principal to the long-term sustainable advancement of Fiji. Fiji’s tourism industry would get a noteworthy lift from a railroad organize update, as the presentation of traveler trains would grow the advantages of tourism spending to a greater amount of the nation than any time in recent memory. Hon. Piyush Goyal has offered the quick arrangement of technical expertise for the assessment of the railway network in Fiji. The Indian group will contain civil and mechanical engineers, including traffic management specialists. The assignment is required to commence within a few weeks
The appraisal of the railroad system will likewise illuminate the usage of the credit extension to the Fiji Sugar Corporation by the EXIM Bank of India. Indian Railways, which will provide assistance, is India’s state-owned railroad system. With the quantity everyday travelers conveyed by Indian Railway surpassing 22 million, and an aggregate of 8. 26 billion travelers last monetary year, it is the most travelled rail operation in the world.
According to Fiji Roads Authority, the 15 year project for improving the traffic congestion along Suva to Nadi Corridor included the expansion of 2 lane roads to 4 lane as well as extension along certain places in the route. However a great expansion of road in order to cater for all the vehicles during peak hours would be impracticable because Government would have to demolish buildings close by to the roads. Additionally, the roads would be grossly underutilized during non-peak hours. An alternative solution could be to reduce the amount of second-hand vehicles imported into the country.
Moreover, the 15 year project of Fiji Roads Authority does not include the introduction of a new mode of transportation. Within 15 years the population of Fiji is expected to increase rapidly, this would mean the road capacity usage will only continue to rise and traffic congestion would still be a problem despite the lump sum of money invested in the project.
On the contrary, the introduction of a railway system would enable Fiji to advance in the transportation sector greatly. Travellers would be able to transport their produce from Sigatoka to Suva in less than an hour and the cost of transportation for farmers would decrease. Traffic congestion will be very less and the journey would be faster and comfortable at an affordable price.
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