Transnational highway work set to start

Lae News, Normal


ROAD works are  set to commence on the new transnational highway which will connect Western Highlands and Madang provinces following the delivery of the second fleet of machineries and equipment under the CIVIC ACTION PROGRAMME.
The PNG Defence Force Engineering Battalion based at Igam Barracks will lead in constructing this transnational highway “as part of its constitutional obligation” and will primarily be assisted by the Department of Works and supported by other smaller partners.
Three bridges will be built at Baiyer, Jimi and Ramu and are expected to be completed by 2012, before the general elections.
CIVIC ACTION  is run by the Defence Department whose officers and partners met for the first time outside of Port Moresby for two days at the Lae International Hotel, where the agenda of the second phase funding from the National Government was also discussed.
CIVIC ACTION chairman Luke Gadd said he was confident the National Government would provide the second
phase funding.
“We are asking for K23 million from the National Government for the second phase of funding.
“The Government’s faith in the PNGDF is not lost,” Mr Gadd said.
He said CAP has confidence in its partners and the Lae meeting will consider the input from the partners, most of whom traveled in from Port Moresby, Madang and Western Highlands province.
“We will just do the work, land issues, political differences and other issues will be dealt with by the Government,”Mr Gadd  said on behalf of the partners.
After 24 years, the new equipment and machineries now replace the rundown ones and were welcomed by the PNGDF hierarchy.
“These equipment belong to the people of PNG, and is a major boost to our capability after 24 years,” commanding officer of Igam Barracks Engineering Battalion Lt Col Mark Keru, said when showing the equipment to CIVIC ACTION conference partners.
He added that they needed more machinery in order to be “fully equipped for this major operation”.
The road construction team will spend six months of the first construction phase in Western Highlands and work towards Madang, and then work from Madang to Western Highlands in the next six months in the second phase.
The first fleet of equipment and 45 engineers are currently stationed in Mt Hagen.