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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 27) – The National Government will spend PGK3 billion [US$ 1.06 billion] to build the proposed 170-kilometer [102 mile] Trans-Island Highway linking Lae and Port Moresby.

The road project which will run through Wau along the Bulldog track to Tapini in the Central Province and to Malalaua is expected to start mid next year and will go on for a period of 10 years.

The final report of the Trans-Islands Highway feasibility study jointly conducted by the Queensland Department of Main Roads and the PNG Department of Transport was presented to the Government of Papua New Guinea yesterday.

Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Don Polye who received the report on behalf of the Government said the work on the road will start mid next year.

"The presentation of the report today opens the first window to advance this project beyond feasibility stage," Mr Polye said.

Mr Polye said the project has been in the shelf for over two decades because the political will and the bureaucratic wheels have not been aggressive and courageous enough to push the project to design and financing stage.

"I’m starting the Trans-Islands Highway today as we the Cabinet have been working on it already," Mr Polye said.

He said this road will offer an economic channel and connectivity that gives rise to national unity.

"Better transport network drives development in a country and that is what I as the minister for transport intend to build a better transport network in the country," Mr Polye said.

A National Executive Council decision was made to connect Lae with Port Moresby.

The Minister said this connection will provide and alternative to air and sea transportation of goods, services and people between the two major cities of PNG.

"This road is intended to serve as a means to transport people, services and goods at a quickest travel time and cheapest construction cost and lesser crossways through population areas or potential commercial sites," Mr Polye said.

The final report that was presented included outlines of the advantages and the disadvantages of this link, cost effects and its effects on the air and sea transport.

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