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The old Rewa Bridge ... a structure from a bygone era.

In the days when the only means of getting to the town of Nausori was by pontoon ferry, a decision was made to build a bridge that could link the township to the capital Suva to provide easy access to the public.

The construction of the bridge was not an overnight decision but took a number of years and a long process of consultation before final approval was given for the project to go ahead.

The history behind the construction of the old Rewa Bridge spans as far back as 1928 when a special committee was appointed by the then Governor Sir Eyre Hutson to consider the question of a loan raised locally for the bridge over the Rewa River.

A submission to the Legislative Council of Fiji was made on March 22, 1928 outlining why the bridge was needed.

A steady increase in traffic over the years including vehicles, pedestrians and animals together with the expectations of additional increase in traffic upon completion of the Tailevu road were some highlighted reasons.

It was also pointed out that the construction of the bridge would save the government annual expenditure from general revenue of at least 800 pounds for the maintenance of the then pontoon ferry.

The old Rewa Bridge was officially opened for general transportation on Saturday June 12, 1937 with the total cost of construction estimated at 75,000 pounds and has to date remained the property of the government.

The opening meant the pontoon ferry service was no longer required and people would not have to wait for days for weather conditions to clear before they could cross the river.

All that was of course until the new, four lane Rewa Bridge funded by the European Union opened in 2005, with government deciding this year that the now structurally unsound old bridge needs to be demolished.

The dilemma with this historical monument now is that government cannot guarantee safety for members of the public crossing the bridge everyday and neither risk the chances of it getting damaged during natural disasters.

Ministry of Works spokeswoman, Sainiana Waqainabete said if the old bridge did get damaged in a disaster, it could cause massive damage to the new Rewa Bridge as well.

“We plan to utilise usable parts of the old bridge in other constructions rather than letting them go to waste,” she said.

The old bridge is composed of two 60 foot approach spans on the Dilkusha side and one similar span on the Nausori side with nine other 120 foot spans in between.

A businessman in Nausori says he has lived all his life in...

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