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Roads, drainage upgrade in Tongan capital

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 1, 2008) – The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$11.3 million grant to improve urban infrastructure in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.,

Nuku’alofa accounts for 34 [percent] of the national population and is home to 75 percent of those living in urban areas.

Stephen Blaik, from the ADB’s Pacific Department, says the project will help improve living standards in Nuku’alofa, especially in low-income residential areas.

He says urbanization is relatively new in Tonga, but the problems associated with unplanned and uncontrolled development are already being felt.

Around 10 kilometres of primary roads will be repaired, including road drainage, and four kilometres of access roads in low-income residential areas will be constructed.

A road maintenance program will also be developed.

The project includes rehabilitating existing drains in the central business areas of Nuku’alofa, constructing 2.1 kilometres of flood drains, and developing a stormwater drainage maintenance programme.

The Government of Tonga will cover the balance of the total estimated cost of $14.22 million for the Project

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