Govt to seal 9,000km of national roads

National, Normal

The National- Monday, January 10, 2011

 ACTING Prime Minister and Works Minister Sam Abal has directed that all 9,000km of national roads be completely sealed and further directed department secretary, Joel Luma, to furnish a phased sealing programme before the end of this month.

This directive was one of several given to Luma for a definite and targeted sealing programme. 

“Our target must be to seal all 9,000km of roads that we have in the country. We must aim to seal all of them through a phased programme so that we do not struggle year in year out to sporadically bring our roads up to sealed standard.

He said 36% of the total 9,000 km of roads had been sealed which equated to only 3,000km sealed. 

Abal said the difference was left wanting and “if we plan to seal 500km each year though a phased programme, we are able to cover the entire national roads adequately in a short period of time instead of spending billions of kina on upgrading and gravelling.”

“There must be a systematic and programmed way that is transparent for all to see so that we provide good and quality road access for our people to reach and procure adequate social services and participation in economic activity. It is our duty to do that,” Abal said.

The department was also asked to immediately set in motion plans to open five strategic road links to opening the country and making it attractive for investment and economic activity.

He said the government would negotiate with major resource developers of the oil and gas sectors toward a turnkey for the major economic Highlands Highway trunk route, that would run from Lae in Morobe to Mendi in Southern Highland and Wabag in Enga, while focus would also be on other important road links around the country. 

Abal said the other roads are: the Gulf to Kikori road link (K20 million); Banz-Ruti to Madang (K20 million); Bogia (Madang) to Angoram (K20 million); New Britain Island connection between East and West New Britain (K10 million) and Buluminski Highway upgrading and sealing (K10 million) to be completed in 2011.

Furthermore, a loan negotiation for technical design for K1.3 billion was currently on going and if successful, would enable the works department to build bridges linking West and East Sepik.

Abal said in a concerted effort with transport sector partners and development aid donors, his department intended to provide and maintain a national roads network and other technical infrastructure for PNG to facilitate intra-regional connectivity so that people could seriously have access to core government services such as health and education both of which were significant contributors to human development.