Fiji Road Network
Transport plays a critical role in Fiji’s economy contributing around 10-12% of GDP. It also employs considerable amount of people in both formal and informal sectors with the latter most vibrant in the land transport industry. It also links key social and economic sectors of the economy including resources based industries, education and health.
Because Fiji is prone to disruptive natural events such as tropical cyclones and resultant flooding. Its topography has restricted the 11,000-kilometer road network to spine or circumferential main roads with feeder roads, leaving few route alternatives. In the main urban areas, lower-level municipal roads are neglected, rough, and sometimes impassable. Inter-island freight and passenger transport relies on serviceable coastal and island jetties, adequate navigation aids, and reliable and safe domestic shipping services. Smaller jetties have been fairly neglected for many years and are in poor condition.
Fiji’s government has undergone a massive road infrastructure improvement program and reformation of the government road transport management authorities and departments. Prior to reform in January 2012, there were 15 bodies responsible for Fiji’s roads. It was then that the Department of National Roads (DNR) was dissolved and the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) was established.
The Land Transport Authority of Fiji is responsible for vehicle and driver licensing and Registration while the FRA is responsible for the Road infrastructure
Fijis road infrastructure is naturally most prevalent on the larger islands and Fiji has 7000 km of roads over 1200 bridges and Jetty’s which also fall under its responsibility.
Fiji Islands is one of the few PICs with a land transport system of any scale. Traffic between cities comprises trucks for freight, buses, minibuses, route taxis, and private vehicles. The most heavily trafficked route is the corridor linking the two main ports, Suva and Lautoka. Haulage of containers between the ports and transport of sugarcane are important contributors to traffic problems. Traffic levels outside of Suva and Lautoka are at most times moderately low, but density increases dramatically near the cities of Lautoka and Suva. Traffic near the ports, general road conditions, and heavy vehicle mass limit laws are the principle problems facing inland transport of containers. A large proportion of trucks, particularly those hauling containers, are in contravention of mass limit laws.
Kings Wharf is located near the center of Suva’s central business district, and a large market and bus terminal is adjacent to the port facility. Traffic congestion in and around the Kings Wharf is, thus, surprisingly severe for an urban center the size of Suva. Trucks carrying containers to and from Kings Wharf must pass through the center of Suva at a very slow pace. At Lautoka Port, the major landside constraint is very slow-moving trucks carrying sugarcane to a sugar plant opposite the main wharf.
Increasing peak loadings are occurring from the land bridging of containers between Suva and Lautoka ports. Some ship operators find it more economical to make a single call, usually at Suva, and land bridge Lautoka cargo under bond. This entails both exports and imports, and as many as 200 containers may be involved in any one ship call. Customer preferences on delivery time and limits on free storage time in the ports drive operators to move all the containers in a short period, thus increasing the load carried by road and causing peak loadings.
The most heavily trafficked route is the Suva/Nadi/Lautoka corridor, which is predominantly two lane bitumen pavement with small four lane divided sections close to the cities. Road surfaces are generally good but showing wear from what appears to be an increasing heavy vehicle load, particularly at the two terminal nodes. Open road limits (80kph) are enforced with visible police presence near village police posts. A Speed camera system throughout the Main roads has also been installed to further improve driving standards and road safety .Within villages, speed humps further reduce average speed and increase transit times.
Current heavy vehicle mass limits cause problems for road transport operators. The Land Transport Act 1998 stipulates the maximum load limit for various heavy vehicles. Most trucks in Fiji carrying containers are ten-wheelers; the mass limit for these trucks under the Act is 32 tonne gross mass. This is insufficient to allow a typical ten-wheel truck to carry a container fully loaded with a dense cargo, such as water. Historically, enforcement of truck load limits has been lax, but this is changing. With improved enforcement, shippers will face the choice of either partly loading containers—which is clearly inefficient—or using larger trucks. However, a significant amount of investment would be needed to upgrade Fiji’s stock of ten-wheeler trucks to prime-movers and semi-trailers. Over weight vehicle are causing major damage to bridge infrastructure who initial design and lack of maintenance history has caused major bridge damage closing lanes in high traffic areas while repair are undertaken. Suva-Lami bridge 2016
Distances from Capital City to Major Towns (km) (Kings Road)
Distances from Capital City to Major Towns (km) (Queens Road)
KM in Vanua Levu
Fiji has between 800-1000 bridges all in various states of repair. Fiji’s bridge infrastructure investment has seen the replacement of 55 bridges with the future use of Baily bridges providing further cost effective improvement in affected areas.
Vulnerable and Critical bridges:
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has put in-place two weighbridges to minimize the effect of vehicle overloading. Road safety needs to be re-looked at to better address its financing needs and in terms of the safe operations of public service vehicles in particular buses.
Road Corridor Assessment
As Pacific Islands Country, there is no International Road Corridor leading to Fiji. Nevertheless, significant and regular multimodal corridors lead to / go through Fiji. These corridors are put down in detail in the following document: