Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu and the Chinese Ambassador to Tonga, His Excellency Wang Donghua signed the agreement at the International Dateline Hotel, for the upgrades on three major sites on Tongatapu, including 'Alipate Road in Kolomotu‟a, the road from Kolonga to Talasiu, and the road from Haveluliku to Lavengatonga.
The overall framework of the National Road Improvement Project covers development to 64 roads totalling more than 130km, with some in Ha‟apai, Vava‟u and 'Eua.
The project is financed through a soft loan from China‟s EXIM Bank.
"In the past few years Government realised a significant amount of resources poured into the construction and maintenance of the national road network, and yet the road conditions continued to deteriorate faster than the rate our road maintenance team could keep up with," said Deputy Prime Minister Vaipulu.
The bilateral Agreement for Phase 1 of the National Road Improvement Project signed in June 2008.
The Agreement for Phase 3 was signed in May 2009, with work beginning 22nd January 2010 on „Alipate Road in Kolomotu‟a. The main contractor is the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation, working with two local civil work contractors.
His Excellency Wang Donghua reiterated the importance of infrastructure development, including road transportation to the economy of developing countries such as China and Tonga.
"China will do all it can to support efforts in economic development in Tonga", said the Ambassador.
Cooperation on the National Road Improvement Project highlights the ongoing close ties between the two nations.
Issued by the: Prime Minister's Office, Nuku'alofa, 2011. (Photos: Taulava Pulini)