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$6m programme to improve Rarotonga’s back and side roads

Thursday 13 April 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National


$6m programme to improve Rarotonga’s back and side roads
Minister for Infrastructure Albert Nicholas in Parliament in April 2023. 23041220

The Cook Islands Government is in the process of a $6 million programme to improve Rarotonga’s backroads and sideroads.

Minister for Infrastructure Albert Nicholas spoke in Parliament on Wednesday about the programme.

“We have programmed into the spread of the 2023-24 financial year improvements to link and side roads in all our constituencies,” Nicholas said.

“The next financial year will see the sealing of hotmix roads move to Nikao and the hospital hill. As we have progressed sealing around the island, working on specific sections each year, it is our intention to eventually complete the entire island.”

Nicholas told Cook Islands News that the government’s annual budget for backroads and sideroads was about $800,000, whereas the total cost of the programme if it were done in “one hit” would cost about $6 million.

“While we wish that we could fix all roads at once, this is not a reality,” Nicholas said.

“We also can’t be seen to favour one area in our infrastructure plans, because we are the government for all Cook Islands, and we intend to serve all of our people.”

Nicholas said because the backroads and sideroads budget was relatively constrained, the Government had to work “smarter and fairer” to ensure the programme delivered the best outcomes.

“We prioritising backroads and sideroads according to their deterioration levels,” Nicholas said.

“But we’re also wanting to ensure that every constituency in Rarotonga gets roading improvements.”

Nicholas said while some of the programme would be done “in house”, parts of this work would be contracted out to the private sector.

He expected some of the roading projects would likely go to T&M Heather, which is owned by Cook Islands United Party leader Teariki Heather.

Nicholas said the Government would also continue with its regular maintenance roading programme.

“In the Pa Enua, we are currently completing the sealing of the Mauke road. In the next financial year, we will work on the Mitiaro road, and start the design work for Mangaia,” he said.

“We will leave no one behind.”

Nicholas said he was “excited” about the Government’s work programme for roads, especially for the backroads and sideroads.

“I don’t think something of this scale has been accomplished before in this country. If it had been done, then you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation,” he said.

Programme of road works includes:

  • Vaimaanga Arametua (Titkaveka, April to June 2023);
  • Turangi Valley Road (Ngatangiia, May to June 2023);
  • Vonnia’s link road (Ruaau, April 2023);
  • Vaiora Road (Avatiu, May 2023);
  • Kia Orana Foods (Takuvaine, May 2023);
  • Vakatini Road (Takuvaine, April 2023);
  • Steve Matapo Road (Nikao, April 2023);
  • Avana Valley Road (Ngatangiia, July-September 2023);
  • Arai-te-Tonga loop/intake (Tupapa, August 2023);
  • Turangi to Matavera Arametua (Ngatangiia, September to October 2023);
  • Angaroa Road (Titkaveka, July 2023);
  • CICC link road (Titkaveka, July 2023);
  • Aroko (Ngatangiia, August 2023);
  • Kaireva (Ngatangiia, September 2023);
  • CIFA (Matavera, October 2023);
  • Matavera Intake Road (Matavera, October 2023);
  • Danny Numa/Anguna Road (Tupapa; November 2023);
  • Punamaia Road (Tupapa, November 2023);
  • Central Motel (Takuvaine, November 2023);
  • Moss Road (Takuvaine, December 2023);
  • Arioka/Foodland Tutakimoa (Takuvaine, December 2023);
  • Uritaua ki tai/Pandanua (Avatiu, January 2024);
  • Te Matepa Road (Avatiu, January 2024);
  • Hoff’s Road (Nikao; January 2024);
  • Nikao Heights (Nikao, February 2024);
  • Pickering to Bimbo House (Ruaau, January to March 2024);
  • Aretuna to Vaiokura Roads (Akaoa; March to April 2024);
  • Bridge to Tau Samuel’s (Murienua, May to June 2024);
  • Rutaki Te Au Road (Murienua, February 2024);
  • Aroa Road (Murienua, February 2024); F
  • ish and Chips Road (Akaoa, March 2024);
  • Kurukau Road (Ruaau, April 2024);
  • Temata Road (Ruaau, April 2024).