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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 6) -- The newly constructed temporary bridge at Teouma is now open for vehicles to use.

While vehicles are diverted into the temporary bridge, works will be concentrated on the total makeover of the old bridge.

The Vanuatu government officially requested help from the government of Japan to rehabilitate the two bridges and last August the project was mutually agreed upon by both governments.

This project is implemented under Japan’s Grant Aid Assistance with the amount of 188 million Japanese yen, which is approximately VT200 million (US$1.7 million).

The Japanese company that won the contract for the construction is Fujita Corporation and has subcontracted two local companies to build the bridge.

The bridge has stood against natural disasters over a long period. However, an earthquake that shook Port Vila in 2002 damaged the bridge.

In his speech during the opening, Mr. Tetsuro Ike, Resident Representative of JICA Vanuatu Office, who represented Japan, said this is not the first time that Japan’s Grant Aid Assistance will be part of a project in Vanuatu.

"So far, in the period of 1997 to 2000, the project for improving the Ring Road in Efate has been carried out under Japan’s Grant Aid Assistance," Ike said. "I believe that new section of the road in the length of 14.3 kilometers provides drastic improvement of transportation in whole of the Ring Road and contributes to developing the further economic activities in rural area of Efate Island."

Ike said the two bridges, Teouma and Rentapao, were damaged and the risk of collapse of the bridges has been increasing.

"Today, I would be very happy to say, as the first significant progress, this temporary bridge is open and from now on the contractor will eliminate the damaged bridge and proceed the substantial work for permanent bridge constructed.

July 7, 2004

Vanuatu Daily Post: http://www.vanuatudaily.com

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