The Upgraded Kukum Highway (Phase 2) Successfully Handed Over to Solomon Islands Government
Ambassador Yoshiaki Miwa & Prime Minister Manasseh D. Sogavare
On the 5th of October 2023, the Government of Japan officially handed over the upgraded Kukum Highway to Solomon Islands Government. The road construction of this multi-million-dollar grant-aid project started in July 2021, the height of COVID-19, when the country still had strict border restrictions. Despite the multiple challenges, such as the civil unrest in November 2021 and the Honiara city-wide transmission of COVID-19 in January 2022, the project successfully completed its work on the 29th of September 2023.
Handing over the upgraded Kukum Highway, Japanese Ambassador Yoshiaki Miwa congratulated Solomon Island, remarking, “We hope the road will be used safely, observing traffic rules such as pedestrian priority, and the Solomon Islands Government will take appropriate maintenance measures to ensure that this road continues to be used safely and comfortably.”
Phase 2 of the Kukum highway upgrade covers the 6.3 km road from the Ministry of Fisheries to Honiara International Airport, including the 4.3 km of the 4-lane highway to Lungga Bridge and about 2 km of the 2-lane highway from Lungga Bridge to the Airport. The project includes the installation of drainage systems, bus stops, streetlights, handrails, and pavement markings.
Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga & JICA Resident Representative Takeshi Watanabe
The Resident Representative of JICA Solomon Islands, Takeshi Watanabe, delivered his message: “We believe that this new road would have direct impacts on Solomon Islands in terms of improving market access, fostering economic growth, increasing private sector participation, and providing access to various social benefits to the people, through strengthening connectivity,” and “we sincerely hope for all Solomon Islanders to enjoy this new development, with remembering Japan as your good neighbour, friend, and partner for the future”.
Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare responded: “This upgraded highway will definitely improve business transactions by reducing traffic jams, not to mention the general flow of traffic,” and continued, “We must take good care of our road. This means we must clean it every day.” “Solomon Islands sincerely appreciate this gift from the government and people of Japan and request the government of Japan to keep investing in constructing highways of friendship and bridges of cooperation,” the Prime Minister concluded.
The upgraded western corridor of Kukum Highway, along with the recently handed-over Honiara International Airport, will continue to change the landscape of Honiara and will transform the city into a more accessible, safe, and climate-resilient city and certainly help accommodate the athletes and visitors for the much-anticipated 2023 Pacific Game in 50 days.
JICA Representative Takeshi Watanabe, Prime Minister Manasseh D. Sogavare, Japanese Ambassador Yoshiaki Miwa, and the Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga Cutting the Ribbon
The Grant Aid Project for Upgrading of Kukum Highway (Phase 2) Memorial Plate