Transnational highway plan sparks confusion

National, Normal

THE people of Baiyer district in the Western Highlands province want the authorities to clarify where the proposed transnational highway to Madang will pass through.
The concern was raised following The National report last Wednesday that the construction work would begin at the Baiyer government station to maintain the existing 15.1km access road to Simanga village.
It was also reported that the actual highway will continue from Simanga through Jimi valley, Ruti, crossing Jimi River and connect with Simbai in the Upper Ramu district in Madang.
Ruti village spokesman Albert Koim said the original plan was for the road to begin at the Baiyer government station to Ukini Two-Reva Mountain-Ruti, across the Jimi River and connect with Simbai.
He said this was outlined in the original plan and the recent change had sparked confusion amongst the locals.
He said Governor Tom Olga, in his trip recently to address the road construction issue, had also mentioned that the road would be constructed through Ukini Two.
He questioned why the change was made and called those in authority to clarify the transnational highway’s route.
Mr Koim said this road was much needed and local communities had no reason to oppose any decision, but called for more awareness to be conducted in several village on the road construction.
The PNGDF battalion from Igam Barracks in Lae is responsible for the construction and deployed 40 combat engineers in early January to the area.