Waterlog delaying Guo restoration: Wereh

National

WORKS Secretary David Wereh says a huge waterlog has built up due to heavy rain that caused unstable soil and resulted in a massive mudslide that blocked off the Guo section of the Highlands Highway in Chimbu since last Tuesday.
He said that after visiting the damaged section yesterday accompanied by Chimbu provincial administrator Joe Kunda.
“The current emergency is on the same slip that occurred a month ago. It has been continuously raining in Cimbu for the last two weeks. This has triggered more water seepage and caused mudflow which is difficult to contain by any restoration works in the rainy season,” Wereh said.
“We were anticipating reopening the road on Sunday but we have encountered a major water seepage way beneath the filled road embankment which has caused a huge depression.
“The provincial administrator and I have visited the slip area and we discussed the options to create bypass to do a traffic diversion but there is no way a bypass can be created for temporary relieve access.
“We have agreed to increase resources and have started mobilising additional excavator machines to increase the contractor capacity.
“If it doesn’t rain, we are expecting the contractor to complete the construction of subsoil drainage structures by Wednesday this week.
“With the amount consolidated mud material on site, we are estimating a practical road reopening for traffic on Friday.
“We are sorry to the road users and truckers asking for your understanding and support in restoring the access.
“My engineers and contractor are working tirelessly but the continuous rain is against us.”
Wereh reiterated that the Guo section was the most problematic part of the highway, which was affected by climatic and environmental issues.
“We have redesigned the whole Chimbu section and are awaiting financial approval.
“We have requested for design, finance and construct model under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) procurement for the contractors to bring in their own money to start the road works and we can repay their money back in 10 years.”

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