Flood destroys K1.2m bridge

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 25th November 2011

TRAFFIC between Popondetta town and Oro Bay has been disrupted after the K1.2 million bailey bridge was washed away by the flooded Girua River.
Provincial administrator Owen Awaita said the  bridge was washed 100m downstream between midnight and 1am after a heavy downpour.
Awaita said vehicles travelling to Popondetta from Oro Bay were forced to stop on one side of the river.  
He said the Kumusi River also burst its bank and shook the foundation of the Kumusi bridge on the Kokoda side.
The bridge ended up in a tilted position making it difficult for vehicles to use it.
Awaita said he had held an emergency meeting with the police, provincial disaster office, provincial works and representative from the business community.
He said some of the measures they came up with include :
l    Suspend all flights into the province due to the bad weather and washing away of the bridge;
l    Temporary halting of
traffic to and from Popondetta and Oro Bay;
l    Creating a “wet crossing” once the flood subsides;
l    Building of a new bridge after the flood; and
l    Addressing landowner concerns if a wet crossing is to be built on their land.
He said the weather at this time of the year was unpredictable in the province and the worst might be expected in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Islands Petroleum, the only fuel operator in town told Aiwata that they had enough fuel for only three days and the stores also informed him that food supplies could last up to two weeks.
He said normally  goods and fuel were transported by ship to Oro Bay and trucked to Popondetta.
But that would be impossible because of the washing away of the bridge.
New provincial police commander Supt Victor Isouve said he had deployed eight men to the Girua River to provide security to the workers assessing the damage and commuters stranded by the flood.