By JACKLYN SIRIAS
PAPUA New Guinea police have begun assessments on the proposed coastal highway which will link the PNG-Indonesian border via West and East Sepik and Madang, says Commissioner Gari Baki.
He was speaking following recent announcements of the Government’s long-term plan to link Madang by road to Indonesia.
“I have sent the commissioner traffic last week to make assessments on the road,” Baki said. He said the traffic commissioner had actually driven on the road to have a look at it.
“This is not a highway that’s going to be done in complete isolation from law-and-order concerns although the police will be responsible.
“Part of our assessment is to look at that and what we could do now is to create a link in terms of building highway patrol units to maintain security on the roads just like all the other highways around the country,” Baki said.
Last month, Minister for Works Michael Nali was reported as declaing the coastal highway from Wutung in West Sepik to Madang through Wewak as an international highway connecting to Jayapura in Indonesia.
His declaration of the international highway was made during a meeting with East Sepik Governor Allan Bird, Inter-Government Relations Minister Kevin Isifu and West Sepik Governor Tony Wouwou and East Sepik provincial assembly members.
He said the Government was committed to linking the people with the international highway because there was more business to be done with neighbours in West Papua.
Nali said plans for the highway along Papua New Guinea’s north coast to the border with Indonesia’s Papua region were still in their infancy.
He said he expected government to free up money this year to link West Sepik’s capital Vanimo and Wewak in East Sepik.
But he said linking Wewak to the east with Madang was more difficult.
“We are hoping to get that built over time as money permits. It is not something that we will start today and finish tomorrow.
“But it is in the Government’s plan, and in the Government’s interests, so over time we will slowly be looking at opening up some of these major missing links.”
Nali said connecting the road to Papua’s capital Jayapura would open up a huge range of business opportunities for Papua New Guinea.
By JACKLYN SIRIAS