Solomon Islands
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Kesao Bridge in North West Guadalcanal Falling Apart

People in North West Guadalcanal are calling on responsible authorities to carry out urgent repair work on Kesao bridge, describing its current state as high risk for vehicles.

Speaking to Solomon Times Online Chief Lutereo Kunuku from Kesao community says the bridge has been around for a long time, and was built by the Americans during its ground offensive operation of World War II.

Such timber slab bridge structures are extensive throughout most of Guadalcanal.

The main bridge frame is made of iron, with timber slabs or lumbers nailed in the longitudinal direction of the bridge. The lumber attached in this manner not only makes up the primary superstructure of the bridge but also the deck.

The average lifespan for such timber slab structure varies, but a lot of it depends on the type of timber used, and the structural integrity of the iron frame.

Chief Kunuku says the bridge timber slab has deteriorated so badly that nails are now exposed, and the actual iron frame full of rust creating fear and risk for the vehicles that carry heavy load while crossing the bridge.

He says vehicle users have had to offload their passengers or cargo before crossing the bridge, fearing the possibility of the timber slab caving in.

"People of North and West Guadalcanal have good reasons to be worried, the bridge connects our communities to Honiara, where they transport their agricultural goods for sale in Honiara,” Chief Kunuku said.

“There are a high number of farmers in our area, mainly in cocoa and copra, who can and do contribute to the economy of the county, but with such poor infrastructure this has affected their output.”

He says while Kesao bridge is of concern, a good number of streams need proper bridges and culvert, in places like Sagalu and Savulei in West and North West Guadalcanal.