Chief wants locals consulted

Papua

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
Engineers should use local knowledge when designing roads and bridges, says a chief of Angabanga, in Central, Adrian Oae.
He said flooding in his area last week could have been minimised if the local people had been consulted during the design of the Angabanga Bridge.
Oae said he had suggested to the contractor to raise the base of the road near the bridge when the bridge was being built in 2015.
“I had told the contractor everything about the flow of the river, like its strength and water levels when the river floods,” he said. “I told them where flash-flooding will occur and the direction and areas that flood would cover.
“They told me that they were going according to the environment study report provided by the State as this (Hiritano Highway) was a national highway.
“I don’t know what type of environment studies they had used because, as far as I know, no one from the State had ever approached me or any of my villagers to carry out an environment report before this bridge was constructed.”
Heavy and continual rain last week flooded parts of the highway and nearby village and forced schools in Central to close.
Oae said the contractor did not raise the base of the road next to the bridge as he had suggested.
“That is why that area is now flooded because it is lower than the bridge. That flooded area was what I had warned them about,” he said.

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