By ZACHERY PER
A BY-PASS will be constructed at the collapsed Henganofi bridge section of the Highlands Highway this week to restore traffic.
“We will work both day and night to create a by-pass before we pull out the truck and excavator from the collapsed bridge,” Eastern Highlands provincial Works manager Steven Sapalo told The National yesterday.
He said they had reached an understanding with locals who had previously demanded compensation before any work could start.
He assured locals that their compensation claims would be processed and paid so they were now assisting in the by-pass construction.
He said pipes ordered from Lae to construct the by-pass would arrive today, and they would work day and night under police supervision to re-open the highway.
Mr Sapalo, however, stated that heavy rain had complicated their efforts.
He said the bailey bridge was capable of withstanding the 30-tonne excavator and truck to pass through as it was reinforced to contain such weights. However, the Kainantu side of the bridge, which was washed away by the flooding creek, gave way when making the cross-over.
Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Chief Supt Augustine Wampe said increased police manpower would be deployed to guarantee safety for commuters and construction workers to build the by-pass.
He urged locals and the travelling public to cooperate with contractors to build the by-pass.
The situation had left fuel pumps in Goroka empty while InterOil service stations brought in their supplies from Mt Hagen.
Local boys were charging K5 for every bag of potatoes, K10 for a bag of kaukau and K2 per betelnut bags that they helped carry across the creek to the other side.
Coffee and tea bound for overseas markets missed their scheduled shipment dates.