THE National Government is looking at developing alternative transport routes like opening up a new highway to link Baiyer district in the Western Highlands with the north coast of Madang.
Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch announced this at the remote Baiyer government station last Thursday during the launch of the district treasury roll-out programme for the Mul-Baiyer electorate.
Mr Pruaitch said the new routes would ease the pressure and problems currently faced along the Highlands Highway.
The Highlands Highway from Lae is constantly deteriorating and is costing the Government millions of kina each year to maintain, while landowners are also making unreasonable compensation demands in relation to the highway rehabilitation.
Mr Pruaitch said the Government planned to open up and develop new highways to connect the Highlands region with the coastal areas.
He said the current Gulf-Southern Highlands Highway was one option being developed while the Government was seriously thinking about connecting Western Highlands and Madang via Baiyer.
Hundreds of Baiyer-Lumusa people who had gathered for the occasion cheered and clapped at the news after having struggled with poor road conditions in the area for many years.
“The new highway would help ease movement and access by people and vehicles,” Mr Pruaitch said.
He also announced a massive K44 million for the sealing of the road from Notre Dame Secondary School to Baiyer district.
He said a contractor had already being identified and work was expected to start soon.
Mr Pruaitch presented a cheque for K10 million to local MP and Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi for the rehabilitation of major roads in the Mul-Baiyer-Lumusa areas.
The Treasurer said the National Alliance-led Government was focused on the rural areas and the district treasury roll-out programme was one policy of the Government to deliver services to the rural population.
He said before other Government services could come to the districts, “money and public servants must be present in the districts” and as such the treasury roll-out programme only sustained that policy.
Mr Pruaitch added that the roll-out would for the first time, after 34 years of Independence, that cheques would be printed at the district level, while Bank South Pacific, Post PNG and Telikom would also open up agencies in the districts to make it a one-stop shop for the people.