They cost the government $350,000 and were purchased four years ago. Yesterday, Infrastructure Cook Islands celebrated their arrival with a small blessing ceremony.
This is the country’s second bitumen truck; the first was delivered to Rarotonga in 1990.
Infrastructure secretary Diane Charlie-Puna said the new machinery would definitely assist with the ministry’s ongoing road sealing programme, especially the branch and back roads.
Charlie-Puna said the delay in the delivery was due to the manufacturing time. The new truck was supplied by Bitumen Sprayers Limited from Palmerston North and built by Lesley Batty – the contractor who assembled the old bitumen truck.
“This is a specialised bitumen sprayer truck, so you can’t actually buy it off the shelf. It has to be manufactured from scratch and parts were being ordered from around the world; the licensing process itself takes a couple of months,” Charlie-Puna said.
“The contractor manufactured the kettle and sprayer tanker in his workshop in Palmerston North and the actual truck to attach the tanker onto came from Auckland.”
Charlie-Puna said the truck would be used in Rarotonga as it was too big an investment to be shipped to the Pa Enua.
The 1990 bitumen truck was in Atiu assisting with the road sealing programme there. It has been committed to the Pa Enua since 2017 for Aitutaki and now Atiu road sealing.
The new bitumen sprayer is double the size of the old truck.
As part of the contract, Charlie-Puna said training for safe operation of the truck was included. There is a weeklong training on the operation of the truck planned for the Civil Works crew with the contractor next week.
“The truck is fully certified in New Zealand before delivery and meets all the testing and standard requirements. This training will provide proper operational training to our staff.”
Charlie-Puna in her speech at the blessing ceremony reiterated the important of safety operations and ongoing maintenance and up keeping of the truck to prolong its lifespan.
She thanked former Infrastructure minister Teariki Heather, and former secretary and current Internal Affairs minister Vaine Mokoroa for their vision in acquiring the machinery.
“I also would like to acknowledge the leadership of our current Minister Hon. Robert Tapaitau for seeing this through and to all my staff involved with this project for your patience and persistency to follow up and to get this truck here today.”