By GYNNIE KERO
A FIRM operating in the Bulolo district of Morobe has confirmed that traffic is moving normally along the Lae-Bulolo Highway despite a section of the road collapsing recently.
The impact of the Kumalu River on the highway tends to be seasonal, and the road can be impassable up to 10 days at a time, Bulolo-based firm, PNG Forest Products (PNGFP) administration manager Ron Sneath said.
He told The National that a section of the road was washed out on Friday.
“Two Landcruisers drove into the river on Friday night because they did not see that the road had been washed away,” Sneath said.
“I have been informed that all the occupants managed to get out.
“PNGFP has two bulldozers and two dump trucks working at the site.
“Harmony Gold also has a large excavator and two dump trucks working at the site, while a local contractor, Classic, has also two excavators working.
“The road was opened to light vehicles last night (Sunday night).
“Long-base trucks were able to get through this morning (yesterday).
“It is hoped that semi-trailers will be able to get through this afternoon (yesterday).
“We were blessed with good weather which allowed the river to be diverted away from the washed out area so a temporary bench could be built.
“There are other areas of the road nearby which are in danger of collapsing into the river.
“Traffic will be moving normally from this (Monday) afternoon after semi-trailers are able to move through.”
Sneath said the problem disrupted the supply of food, fuel and essential operating supplies.
“It disrupted the transport of products to Lae for the domestic and overseas markets,” he said.
“The consequences a severed road link causes is that finished products from local firms are prevented from reaching shipping yards in Lae.”
In an interview with The National in May, Works Secretary David Wereh said the department had plans to build a two-lane bridge over the Kumalu section of the Wau-Bulolo Highway in Morobe.
Wereh had said it was to be a long-term solution for the road.
“In the meantime, we will have a contractor on standby to ensure road access maintained,” he said.
“Geographically and geo-technically, it’s a difficult section of the Wau-Bulolo Highway.”
By GYNNIE KERO