By JUNIOR UKAHA
A SECTION of the Highlands Highway at Zumin in Markham, Morobe, is flooded, disrupting the flow of traffic.
Markham administrator John Orebut said people and vehicles were trying to negotiate their way through the flooded portion in the past week.
He said it was similar to the situation in that section of the highway early this year.
“Floodwaters had washed away a section of the highway near Zumin Two creating a depression in the middle of the road,” he said.
“Vehicles are having a hard time trying to cross the road. Locals are charging the vehicles money to cross.”
Orebut said water flowing down from the Yarus Mountain flooded the highway.
“I spoke to a Works engineer last Monday but no action has been taken to fix the affected road,” Orebut said.
“Their timing is very slow. The road is too risky for vehicles to cross.”
Markham project officer Waka Waiang, who was in charge of ensuring that things flow smoothly at the site, said there were no Works Department engineers to fix the damaged road.
He said locals were taking advantage of the situation and charging motorists who had to cross the gully at their own risk.
“The flooding has also affected the Arifiran Primary School,” Waiang said.
“This is a frequently flooded area. There is no proper drainage, therefore water runs onto the main highway. Sediments have accumulated over time and covered the drainage,” he said.
Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Alan McLay said there was no real impact at the moment, as vehicles were still able to pass through the affected section.
“The problem is the infrastructure as the road is under threat of being washed away,” McLay said.
“There is a serious problem with drains in this area, as the existing ones are overflowing.
“Immediate attention by Department of Works is needed. If the problem is left unattended, it will cause more problems for the public.”
Morobe works manager Kingsford Kassen referred questions to its media unit in Port Moresby.
Northern region Assistant Commissioner of Police Peter Guinness has warned locals to stop charging fees on people and motorists using the highway.
By JUNIOR UKAHA