Highway needs repairs

National, Normal

The National, Friday 10th Febuary 2012

A GROUP of young men from the Watabung section of the Highlands Highway are patching crater-like pot holes there.
The local youths are casual workers for the contractor engaged by the Works Department to maintain the deteriorating Watabung section of the highway in Eastern Highlands.
During the recent rains, trucks, light vehicles and Dyna trucks and PMV buses had difficulty passing through the huge water-logged pot holes.
 “In the deteriorating section of the Highlands Highway it is only possible for four-wheel drive vehicles to pass through,” a concerned citizen of Sinasina-Yongomugl Mike John said.
“Government attention on the Highlands Highway is simply just not there.”
He said successive governments allocated money in every budget for the maintenance of the highway but no tangible work was carried out.
John said the highway, especially the Chimbu section, was in very bad shape, “it is impassable for light vehicles and heavy trucks with heavy loads, especially during wet weather”.
Chimbu provincial administrator Joe Kunda this week said the number of heavy trucks ferrying heavy loads on the highway had increased.
He said there had to be a more coordinated approach to at least have the highway in good shape.
“We are paying people living along the 40m section of the highway to rehabilitate the road, but it is deteriorating.”
He called on authorities to build weigh stations at locations along the highway to stop trucks ferrying excessive loads.
He said heavily-laden trucks were responsible for causing landslides along the highway.
Another problem is that opportunists and thugs stop trucks and vehicles and demand for cash at different sections of the highway.
“We have an emergency situation on the Highlands Highway, given the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Pogera Gold projects.
“The Government must step in immediately to solve all these problems along the highway,” Peter Rasta, a youth in Kundiawa, said.