By MARK HAIHUIE
BUSINESS operations in Southern Highlands will be affected if the Government delays the reopening of the Highlands Highway blocked by landslides, businessman Barry Mini says.
Mini is the president of the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mini said the highway passed through the province from Mt Hagen to Lae.
“The real concern for businesses is the fuel shortage that may come about if the road blockage is not fixed quickly by the Government,” he said.
“If it goes onto to take two weeks or more, it will definitely be a problem for us here.
“The major landslide is along the highway in Chimbu which cut of the major road link between Hagen and here. There is extensive damage to other parts of the highway from Lae into the Highlands region.”
Chimbu administrator Joe Kunda told The National that the landslide occurred in Kerowagi district just outside Kundiawa town.
It has cut off the road links from Kundiawa to Jiwaka and Western Highlands, Enga and Southern Highlands which are linked to Mt Hagen.
“Kundiawa town is not affected as the landslide occurred just outside in Kerowagi district. What it means is that the transport of goods along the highway to Western Highlands and Jiwaka will be affected,” he said.
Goroka Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sarah Shirley said while Goroka businesses had not been affected, the concern now was public safety on the highway.
“My main concern with the current situation on the Highlands Highways is law and order problems and the safety of travelers and vehicles,” she said.
“The chamber is confident the Department of Works and implementation will work around the clock to ensure the highway is back to normal and police will be vigilant of opportunist and on the safety of the traveling public.”
By MARK HAIHUIE