By HELEN TARAWA
THE Government’s new approach to engaging road contracts is intended to see national highways maintained throughout the year.
It will be contracting companies on output and performance basis, the first of which was launched in Port Moresby in partnership with World Bank.
Works and Implementation Secretary David Wereh, who officiated at the launching of the first such contract, worth K71 million for upgrading and maintenance of the Hiritano Highway, said it meant the contractor would be obliged to maintain the highway whenever needed.
“This is in line with the government’s zero pothole policy on the main highways and there is no other way to achieve that policy target,” Wereh said.
“We need to have long-term contractors who are always on site 24/7 to make sure that they attend to the drainage, potholes, grass-cutting and line marking issues in a timely manner so that the road is maintained at a high standard.
“This is going to be ongoing for the next four years, there will not be any potholes – we are declaring a war (against potholes).”
Wereh said there was no other way to achieve those targets of the Government “given the current budget arrangements”.
Wereh said the Government was allocating K10 million for one national highway all around the country and that was expected to fix road problems.
“That K10 million is going to one little 10km road and we continue to build up backlogs in the current adhoc arrangement,” he said.
“This is the way to go and this is the first lot of contracts we are awarding on a long-term arrangement under the Government’s policy and the Government must continue to support that so that we have fulltime contractors on site,” Wereh said.
By HELEN TARAWA