Labasa road raised to address flooding

Namoli Grader Roller. Photo: FHL

The upgrade of a Labasa road has been “one of the most challenging” with low-lying rail tracks running onto the road in a place prone to flooding from the nearby Qawa River.

However, Fulton Hogan Hiways (FHH) Stabilising and Construction Crew Supervisor in the North, George Hughes, has commended the team that worked on 480 metres of Namoli Road, immediately past the Labasa Sugar Mill outside Labasa Town.

Fulton Hogan Hiways (FHH) is contracted by the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) to carry out its maintenance programme to provide road access in the Central, Northern and Eastern Divisions.

Mr Hughes said that pre-overlay work, which consisted of raising the road by nearly 300 millimetres, installation of special underground drainage, and grading the road to good positive cross-fall to rid water from its surface, was essential to correct wear and tear caused by traffic and flooding.

“This was some of our most difficult work because we have the railway tracks coming to the road at a very low level and to overlay we needed to first address flooding,” said Mr Hughes.

“We needed to raise the road, but before that we had to dig out 180 metres to install subsoil pipes overlaid with base course at a depth of approximately 100mm. We could not install culverts as the railway tracks are right next to the road so the subsoil pipe would provide underground drainage,’’ he added.

“The Qawa River is nearby and we flushed some existing culverts and installed new 450mm and 600mm culverts in some areas. We also installed new culverts under some access ways.

Namoli Road resident, Hassan, has welcomed the road upgrade “after 15 years of living in the area. This is the best thing to happen to us.”

“Dust and floods have been part of our daily life since I moved here. This road is always busy.”

Housewife Samshad Bano has also welcomed the road upgrade saying she no longer needs to worry “about the direction of the wind blowing dust when I hang out our family laundry.”

Namoli Road caters for two schools Batinikama High and Primary schools and over 2,000 residents.

With the road now cement stabilised, Mr Hughes said that the construction of this section will be regularly monitored, especially over the wet season, to ensure the drainage is working effectively, and any changes to the drainage requirements will be programmed and addressed, he added.