Contruction on the Laleia Bridge is now underway after the government took out a loan from the Asian Development bank (ADB).

Contruction on the Laleia Bridge is now underway after the government took out a loan from the ADB.

Unit Project Manager for the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication Odete da Costa said construction started on August 18, 2016 and  had since made significant progress.

“Based on calculations, construction was only supposed to reach 1% [of completion] at the end of November because there were many delays, like heavy rain and other things, but they have completed more than 3%, and that is good progress,” she said.

The construction is being done by Chinese company Shanghai Group Ltd after it passed the two-year procurement process.

She said the construction would be good quality and that the materials being used by the company had passed rigorous testing and the equipment was modern.

“I hope that the project will be completed based on the deadline in the contract,” said da Costa.

She said the government had also contracted consultants from Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia to observe the construction process.

She said the project involved two stages and construction on both was currently underway. The first was the construction of the Dili-Manatuto road and second was the Manatuto bridge linking to Baucau Municipality.

The first part of the project is being financed with a $48,300 loan from the Japan International Cooperation of Agency (JICA), while the second part is being funded through an ADB loan totaling $59,200.

The first stage is scheduled to be completed on May 14, 2018 followed by the second stage on August 25, 2019.

Regarding the communities affected by the project, she said the government had already provided compensation to people with kiosks and small crops in the area before construction got underway.

However, motorist Castro da Silva expressed concern that construction on the Laleia Bridge was disrupting the traffic flow.

“The bridge is too narrow, we have to wait one another and sometimes it creates congestion. It should be wider,” he said.