Manager: Chimbu road funds too small

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 04th April, 2013

THE annual maintenance budget of K500,000 for the 57km Chimbu stretch of the Highlands highway is grossly inadequate, says provincial works manager Amos Dakma.
“We need approximately K15 million per year to maintain that stretch,” Dakma said from Kundiawa yesterday.
It means that the K500,000 is just 3% of what Dakma says is required to repair and maintain the stretch of the highway that winds over rugged terrain between Eastern Highlands and Jiwaka.
“It is always the worst affected section of the highlands highway during the wet season,” Dakma said.
Dakma attributed this to weak soil structure, especially along the portion between Kundiawa town and the border of Jiwaka. It is a problem section known to regular highway commuters.
He said soil along this portion of the road used to shift during heavy rain.
“The culverts are most affected during this period and we are always stretched to the limit trying to do temporary restoration work,” Dakma said.
Though the weakest link, the Chimbu section is considered a very vital link to the interior of the highlands and the many mining and petroleum operations.
Dakma is urging the national Works Department to prioritise this 57km stretch of the highway in its K80 million allocation this year.
He said this stretch was the vital link to the coast and the interior of the highlands and should be the focus of the works department.