By PISAI GUMAR
THE state of the road to Bulolo and Wau is cause for grave concern for motorists, commuters, and multi-million kina companies.
There are more than 20 landslips along the road beginning at the notoriously savage Kumalu River where the water cuts a new course every time it floods.
Last Thursday, it stopped a container truck belonging to IPI Transport for more than 12 hours as road crew tried to push and tow it across the river.
Even when a mining contractor, HVC and Morobe Mining Joint Venture, volunteered a front-end loader, a grader and an excavator to remove the rocks and sediments between Kumalu and Bulolo, the work was being undone by heavy rains.
The IPI Transport freighter encountered more problems between Bulolo and Wau where several sections at Pine Top and Missus Booth were narrow and slippery.
The drivers of PMVs said they were “getting nervous” going through narrow passages on wet clay.
Already the cost of a hire vehicle from Lae had risen from K500 to K1,000.
The fuel, especially diesel is selling at K40 for 20L at Bulolo and more than K50 in Wau.
The owners of the shops in Bulolo and Wau said if the mudslides continued, there would not be any food in Wau.
“Prices of basic goods could be forced into an unrealistic inflation,” a teacher at Grace Memorial Secondary said.
Last week students, were forced to carry two tonnes of rice for five hours from Bulolo to Wau.
“Worse fate could be suffered by the Wau Health centre,” a nursing officer said.
She said already the centre was without baby immunisation drugs.
“Without other drugs for illnesses such as malaria and diarrhoea, we could see a lot of unnecessary fatalities,” she said.
The road is slowly being fixed by gold miner, Niuminco and merchant trader Moale Holdings, who stepped in with a D3 and D8 bulldozers and an excavator.
But the workload was overwhelming.
Last Friday, the entire 45km road was yet to be cleared with more slips happening.
Sections at Maus Box, Works Compound, Cliffside, Missus Booth, Maus Kuranga, Kilolo Creek, Lain Muli and Cowgate were all life threatening.