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New Zealand Led Project Transforms Fiji’s Road Network

New Zealand Led Project Transforms Fiji’s Road Network

Wellington, 19 August 2013 - A world leading project is currently underway in Fiji to bring about a sustained improvement in the national roading network for the country.

In January 2012, MWH Global in New Zealand was awarded a five year contract by the Fiji Government to assist it in establishing the new Fiji Roads Authority (FRA), and to build and maintain the country’s 10,000 kilometers of roads, its 1000 bridges and 44 jetties.

The role of MWH also included the institutional change needed to create the FRA and since its formal establishment on 1 January 2013, the FRA’s strong management process is ensuring a financially accountable and robust reporting system with increased efficiency and value for money.

MWH Fiji Roading Network Manager, Mike Rudge said “For a country that did not have an effective transportation network, virtually no systems in place to maintain and operate the infrastructure that was in existence and a network in a very serious state of disrepair, the turnaround is becoming clear to see. It will still take more years for these changes to become embedded and sustainable. Fiji’s roads and their safety have improved, meaning it’s now possible for more children in remote villages to get to school, better roads means more money is being brought into rural communities and in a country where 80 percent of people get around by bus daily life is becoming easier.”

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“One of the biggest benefits of the project is the ongoing up-skilling of staff,” said Neil Cook, CEO of the FRA. “There has been a huge amount of knowledge transfer to local staff from New Zealand consultants and contractors working in Fiji. This has an on-going benefit for the individual, communities and economy as it means the country will become more self-sufficient and, in time, have less reliance on foreign workers to deliver an efficient and effective transport system.”

In the next few years a major reseal and rehabilitation programme is to be rolled out across Fiji’s entire road network together with the replacement of unsafe bridges and improvements to traffic signals and streetlights.

“What is particularly unique about this project is the speed at which change is happening. The Fiji Government was aware of the extent and urgency of the problem and the need to dramatically increase expenditure. However, it knew it could not afford to put money into a broken system riddled with unnecessary bureaucracy, corruption and low levels of competence. In one year the government, with the assistance of MWH, disbanded the Department of National Roads with approximately 1,800 staff, developed and let maintenance contracts, reviewed and renegotiated some poor performing contracts, and developed an integrated approach to the future management of the network,” Mr Rudge said.

This game changing project, its systems, processes and objectives is now being brought to the attention of other governments in the region including Papua New Guinea, which is increasingly focusing on its infrastructure as its economy continues to grow at some of the fastest rates in the Asia Pacific.

Through working in this programme New Zealand engineers have also gained unique experience and knowledge, enhancing the skills they will bring home.

About MWH Global
MWH Global is a strategic consulting, technical engineering, environmental and construction services firm leading the wet infrastructure sector. Offering a full range of services and innovative, award-winning solutions beginning in the initial planning phases through construction and asset management, we partner with our clients in multiple industries to implement projects and programs that focus on water, energy, natural resources and transportation infrastructure. Our nearly 8,000 employees in 35 countries spanning six continents are dedicated to fulfilling our purpose of Building a Better World, which reflects our commitment to sustainable development. MWH is a private, employee-owned firm with a rich legacy beginning in 1820. For more information, visit our website at www.mwhglobal.com or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

ENDS

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