Tongan King Opens Upgraded Foa Causeway In Ha‘apai

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German debt swap of $2.5 million funds rehabilitation

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 20, 2013) – King Tupou VI opened Foa's upgraded causeway linking Foa island to the main island of Lifuka in Ha’apai yesterday December 19.

The 680m long causeway was funded with assistance from the German Government as a result of a debt swap agreement with the Tonga Government for the $4.67 million pa’anga [US$2.51 million] upgrade.

The Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano said Government recognized that improved transportation links and better plan infrastructural development is of prime importance to the economic and social development of people living in remote islands.

He said the rehabilitation of the Foa causeway would provide better access to health, schools and amenities in Pangai, and also provide an evacuation and access route in case of natural disasters between the two islands.

"There is no doubt that improvement to the roadway will bring lasting benefits to these communities and the visitors who come to enjoy the islands and sandy beaches of Ha’apai. The rehabilitation of the causeway is a reality thanks to the economic cooperation offered by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany," he said.

Debt-swap

The Tongan Government in 1978 received a loan from Germany to buy the MV Fuakavenga a regional freighter, as well as a domestic ferry the MV Olovaha.

Under a debt swap agreement Tonga agreed to use the sum of $4.67 million pa’anga it would otherwise have had to repay to the German Government and use the funds for a major development project in Tonga. In 2009 the two Governments agreed that it be used to upgrade the causeway, and the work began in November last year.

The causeway includes road works and comprises of two reinforced concrete walls and a tar-sealed road between the two walls and three double box culverts (for free flow of water under the causeway) and two side-bays to allow for give-ways and the passing of vehicles.

The main contractor was China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) with design by Tahifisi Vehikite.

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