Officials and locals in Vava’u have blamed poor construction for the level of damage caused to newly constructed roads by Cyclone Zazu last week.
The cyclone caused widespread erosion and flooding with winds gusting up to 120 kilometre an hour.
Flooding in Ta’anea overwhelmed some of the roads and washed away many of the rocks that have been used to construct them.
Some roads have been closed because vehicles cannot use them because of the damage.
Neiafu Town Officer Vāvā Lapota told Kaniva News the damage was huge.
He said Vava’u main island was mostly steep, which made it easy for rain to erode the roads because they were not sealed.
He said a heavy truck belonging to one of the rock suppliers – Inter Pacific Ltd, which is owned by ‘Etuate Lavulavu – was seen getting bogged on a newly constructed road in Ta’anea.
Lapota said another heavy truck from Inter Pacific became bogged in one of the roads in ‘Utulei after the cyclone and a loader was sent to pull it out.
Locals claimed there was no proper road drainage and some of the roads did not appear to contain enough layers of rocks to withstand heavy vehicles.
They said roads constructed with only rock as a top layer would be unusable.
People commenting on photos of the Ta’anea damages uploaded to Facebook last week said this was a waste of money.
Kaniva News has asked the Minister of Infrastructure, ‘Akosita Lavulavu, for comment.
We have asked Hon. Lavulavu to tell us how the road engineering plan was designed to cope with Vava’u’s steep hills and vulnerability to tropical cyclones. We also asked her to tell us how much will it cost for the government to rebuild or repair the road damage.
The Prime Minister’s New Road Construction project has been criticised for being designed to benefit Cabinet members and the Prime Minister’s People’s Party members.
It was announced to have cost taxpayers TP$300million. Hon. Tu’i’onetoa said the government had set the price at TP$70 for each truck load.
Opposition Leader Sēmisi Sika said the way money was allocated to the project would cause an economic disarray to the whole country.
Early this year, photos uploaded to Facebook by ‘Eua residents showed huge damage to the newly constructed roads after a storm struck the island.