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Vanuatu Roads

 Road Overview

The Public Works Department (PWD), within the Ministry of infrastructure and Public Utilities, is responsible for the building and maintenance of roads in Vanuatu. Overall road network length managed by PWD is 2,036 km. This includes feeder and arterial roads (feeder=957, arterial=825 km). The actual road network length is not known as there are many local bush roads on the islands not maintained by PWD.

There are two aid projects in Vanuatu aimed at enhancing the major roads in the more populated islands:

  • The Roads for Development (R4D) project funded by Australia, and
  • The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) funded by China.

The projects have had varying degrees of success hampered by access to local supplies, ground conditions and weather conditions.

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Government Contact List here.

Road Security

There are no issues with civil unrest in Vanuatu however roads can be slippery, and flooded during the wet season. Some roads can be impassable after heavy rains.

Weighbridges and Axle Load Limits

There are no weighbridges in Vanuatu. The maximum axle load limit is 8 mt.

Road Class and Surface Conditions

The following table depicts the length (km), types and condition of roads in each province:

Province

Sealed

Gravel

Earth

Total

% Total

Malampa

0

150.13

256.8

406.9

20%

Penama

0

74.3

280.9

355.2

17%

Sanma

68

353.93

101.5

523.4

26%

Shefa

130.05

61.5

164.5

356.0

17%

Tafea

0.3

81.664

261.5

343.5

17%

Torba

0

42.2

9.4

51.6

3%

Total

198.4

763.7

1074.6

2036.7

100%

 

The two most populated islands have sealed roads.

Efate has a sealed ring road around the island.

Santo was sealed from Luganville to Port Olry, which has more than halved the travel time to the tourist destination.

In Tanna, CCECC is currently working on gravelling and sealing the roads from Lenekel to the North until Green, South until Imaki, and to the East until Snake Hill. The work is slow going due to the terrain and wet season. After TC Cook (2017) the road to the North was impassable, and the port of Kwamera was unreachable, where road works had not been conducted yet.

In Malekula, the R4D improved the road from Norsup to Lamap in Malekula as part of phase one of the project. It was identified that it would need more gravel in order for it to be maintained.

CCECC offered a loan to seal the road, however the project has been unsuccessful and worsened road conditions. They are almost impassable in sections during the wet season and 4WDs must be used. After TC Cook the Norsup airport could not be reached from the south.

It is understood that CCEECC has halted the project in Malekula and it is unclear if the roads will be left unsealed in its current condition. This means access from the main airport to the major ports and communities in Malekula is extremely slow and difficult.

The roads in Pentecost, particularly to the North, can be impassable after persistent heavy rains. There are numerous ports along the west coast to enable supplies to reach villages.