Road upgrade gets K89m

National

THE Government, the World Bank and the Australian government have launched a US$29 million (K89 million) project to upgrade the East Cape Road running from Alotau to the most easterly point of PNG’s mainland.
The project covers 51km of road which will benefit about 200,000 people.
Alotau MP Charles Abel said national development depended very much on good roads.
“(They) are the only way to access health, education, delivery of government services and creating market opportunities for local produce,” he said.
Abel was joined at the ground-breaking ceremony by Australian High Commission’s minister counsellor Benedict David and World Bank country manager Stefanie Stallmeister.
David said: “Australia invests in transport infrastructure because it is fundamental to economic growth and service delivery. I am very pleased to see this joint World Bank – Australia funded project proceeding in support of the Government of PNG’s priorities.”
The works are funded through a World Bank US$126.5 million (K338 million) credit with additional co-financing from the Australian government.
Stallmeister said the ceremony represented much more than the start of a construction project.
“Today’s ceremony is the culmination of many years of work and collaboration between the governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the World Bank,” Stallmeister said.
“The start of construction also represents the start of a positive new era for the people of Milne Bay.”
The East Cape Road provides a link for the people in the archipelago of islands to the east and north, which make up three out of the four districts in Milne Bay.
People of the islands regularly travel by sea to and from East Cape Point and the north coast, and then two hours by road to Alotau for access to the main produce market, shops and services.
Like many remote parts of Papua New Guinea, access to basic services, schools and hospitals remains a daily struggle for communities along the East Cape.
Maintenance of roads is a challenge because of the rugged, mountainous landscape, widely scattered population and unconnected roads.

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