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$11 million project to begin next month

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Sept. 4, 2009) – The French Polynesia government's Procurement Committee has given a green light for six of 20 projects involved in the building of a new downtown Papeete ferry terminal due to be completed in 2012.

The committee's approval of 878 million French Pacific francs (US$10.8m/€7.4m) in work covers the preliminary preparation of the site, where the Temaru government announced last month that work is due to start on Oct. 19.

The preliminary work includes demolition, excavation, foundation, steel structure, plumbing, sanitation, drainage, high-powered electrical, stainless steel and glazing work for the 3,800-sq.-meter (40,903-sq.-ft.) terminal.

The ferry terminal was one of a dozen projects approved by the Procurement Committee, representing a government investment of more than 1.2 billion French Pacific francs (US$14.8m/€10m).

One of those projects involves a 151 million French Pacific franc (US$1.9m/€1.3m) contract awarded for building a dormitory for the Taravao Polyvalent High School at the junction of Tahiti and its peninsula. This is the first contract for the overall work estimated to cost more than 376 million French Pacific francs (US$4.6m/€3.2m), 85% of which the French government is paying for.

Another project involves the living accommodation annex for Tahiti's new general hospital due to open next April. Further work on the facility is necessary so that the slope of the roof meets requirements for solar energy panels to operate efficiently. Other various work is also involved for a total of 26 million French Pacific francs (US$320,988/€217,880).

Work on the 485-million French Pacific franc (US$5.9m/€4m) annex began in December with an estimated completion in 12-14 months. The annex will accommodate families of hospitalized patients and some patients not requiring medical hospitalization.

The new Papeete ferry terminal has become necessary to handle the regular traffic between Tahiti and its sister island of Moorea. That yearly ferry traffic amounts to 1.7 million passengers and some 250,000 motor vehicles, according to the Papeete Port Authority.

The new ferry terminal, a project dating back to 2001, will cost an estimated 2.5 billion French Pacific francs (US$30.9 million/€20.95m).

The new terminal will provide a better flow of passengers, vehicles and freight by improving loading and unloading conditions, the Port Authority said last month. This, it added, will be accomplished by splitting up the flow of passengers and vehicles at the terminal's main entrance.

And a footbridge will link the ferry terminal to parking facilities at several levels. The parking garage will be built across the downtown oceanfront street on land where the former Hotel Royal Papeete is located. That is expected to improve the motor vehicle traffic situation along the ocean boulevard, while making it safer for passengers, the Port Authority said.

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