1 Mar 2016

Major Kiribati road upgrade opened

3:28 pm on 1 March 2016

Major roadwork to upgrade and repair the main South Tarawa road network in Kiribati has been opened.

Damaging waves flooded Kiribati's Betio in South Tarawa.

Damaging waves flooded Kiribati's Betio in South Tarawa. Photo: Kiribati Ministry of Health

The 33-kilometre road stretches from the Betio business district to the airport at Bonriki and includes eight kilometres of feeder roads, numerous tidal barriers as well as speed humps.

It is expected to be completed soon.

The US$ 57.5 million project was in part funded by the World Bank, with assistance from Australia and the International Development Association.

World Bank country director for the Pacific Franz Drees-Gross said the idea for the South Tarawa road network was first raised in 2009 with funding becoming available around 2011.

Mr Drees-Gross said it was the single largest public infrastructure project ever undertaken by Kiribati and represents 30 percent of the national GDP.

"So just pulling this off you can see there is a sense of pride both inside the government and inside the communities too. That suddenly there is such a nice and at this point quite gleaming piece of infrastructure that is really just adding value to their communities."