Taking the heavy load off our roads

Editorial

WHILE we wait for the paperwork on the implementation of weighbridges in the country, more bridges will continue to collapse because the excess load it has had to endure over time.
Road transport is the most important mode used by all on a daily basis and besides benefiting the road users, roads also play a significant role in promoting not only economic growth but also improve the living standards of our people.
One does not have to be an expert on roads to know overloading trucks had caused serious damage and deterioration to roads and their structures, including bridges.
One cannot deny that besides the weather, the movement on our roads by overloaded vehicles is a contributing factor to the rapid deterioration of pavements.
With the weather having a tremendous influence on the greater-than-normal volume of rainfall in this part of the world, PNG’s road infrastructure, in particular, stands to cop the full brunt of Mother Nature’s forces.
The country has to fork out funds from somewhere in order to cope with this natural phenomena.
And if the loads are not controlled, this cost has to be carried by the road users, which will require significant increases in the road-user charges.
And the installation of weighbridges is one option of addressing these concerns.
Talks about the installation of weighbridges on major roads in the country to help reduce damage and prevent accidents has started, unfortunately, it is not moving fast as per discussions.
The one currently at 9-Mile outside Lae that is ready but cannot be used due to the change in reforms.
Last Wednesday, a bridge which was the only access to Madang town collapsed when a truck carrying gravel to a construction site was on it.
The Bigei Bridge on the Usino-Bundi Tal road was built in 2014 but its foundation has been affected by frequent flooding. And that is just one to mention.
Weighbridges will have positive outcomes to reducing road damage, overloading, improper loading and other contributing factors to the deteriorating state of the road systems. Weighbridge technology is essentially a road scale that is able to digitally record the weight of a vehicle and its contents.
The weighbridges must be installed in various places in the country in an effort to curb and minimise the number of overloaded vehicles on our national roads while similar structures should be planned across the country.
The weigh stations should have a positive impact in regulating major trucking and construction firms to prevent overloading or using unauthorised routes.
This then serves to help the road upkeep and prevent unnecessary accidents. The movement of big vehicles will also come under the microscope with measures including a routine policy for traffic guidelines for heavy vehicles.
Once the weighbridge is introduced, fines will imposed for those who exceed the maximum load capacity. The weighbridge is important to the country and is aligned with the rehabilitation of the Highlands Highway launched by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill earlier this year.
This investment requires preservation and sustainable utilisation to ensure continued economic growth both at national and regional level.
This very important infrastructure is sure to better improve on the standard required load a heavy vehicle could carry at any one time to reduce damage to roads and its structures.
The focus must be on getting the paperwork approved on who will be in charge of the weighbridges, otherwise the one currently at 9-Mile outside Lae will become a market hub.

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