Long Aust-PNG partnership strengthened

The National, Tuesday July 19th, 2016

AUSTRALIA and Papua New Guinea have a long history in partnership and the K139 million bridge project in Northern further strengthens that relationship, Australian High Commissioner representative James Passmore says.
Speaking at the opening of three of the four bridges in the project yesterday, Passmore said it was a reminder of the deep friendship between the two countries.
He said Northern played a major part in the shared Anzac history and the deep relationship was built to last like bridges that were opened yesterday.
“I’m told that Oro’s main road corridor directly serves around 100,000 people, close to half of the province’s population,” Passmore said.
“Oro’s residents rely on the roads and bridges for access to health services, education, markets and other income-generating opportunities to strengthen and connect communities.”
Passmore said the new bridges would improve the reliability of the road network, cut down on vehicle maintenance costs and reduce travel times.
They are also safer for road users, particularly pedestrians. New road signs, safety barriers and footpaths are in place at all the new bridge sites.
Passmore said the three bridges opened yesterday were constructed with about 500 tonnes of steel. The fourth bridge on Kumusi River on Kokoda Highway is in the final stages of completion.
He said as the longest two-lane bridge in Papua New Guinea at 285 metres, its completion would be a significant milestone.
“The bridge at Girua will also improve reliability of access to the airport, which has also been cut off a number of times in 2016 due to severe flood events,” Passmore said.
“This project represents a significant technical achievement. Scoping, design and construction of our new steel bridges is a large and complex undertaking.
“I commend the Department of Works for the management of this high-impact project. These bridges have been designed to withstand once-in-a-century flood events to reliably serve the people of Oro for generations to come.
“The project has also been re-scoped to include the reinstatement of two bridges at Martyrs and Auga Crossings which were  destroyed by Cyclone Guba.
“These new bridges will be in place before the end of the year and no longer will there be any wet crossings between Kumusi and the coast.”