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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 5, 2008) - The rehabilitation and repair of Lae City’s roads is expected to begin in early April.

Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare announced this during a visit to the city yesterday.

Sir Michael was in Lae to purchase school building materials for his electorate and took the opportunity to assure the people of Lae and Morobe Province his government would honor its commitment to provide money for the rehabilitation of the city roads. Sir Michael threw the challenge back to Lae, saying the Government had made the funds available but that local authorities in Lae had "failed to organize themselves and work together" to see its release.

He pinpointed the provincial administration, Works Department and the Lae Urban Council, who he said had not organized themselves to ensure the project got started. "People here talk too much but not enough action is being taken," he claimed.

Sir Michael said he had made a commitment to give PGK50 million [US$18 million] last year. The first PGK25 million [US$9 million] has already been dispatched.

"It is now up to the authorities here to organize themselves and work together to have the road project started," he said.

Morobe Administrator Manasupe Zurenouc and the National Works Department Secretary Joel Luma as well as representatives of the road rehabilitation program met last Friday to speed up the project. The meeting also agreed to advertise for tenders for the project this month.

Deputy administrator Patalias Gamato said the tender should be out in three weeks for the construction works to start in April.

Mr. Gamato said the works include the rehabilitation, road pavement, re-sealing, drainage and street lights, signs and crossings. The 37 kilometers of roadwork includes the Independence Drive (Kamkumung corner to Unitech and Igam), Bumbu, Air Corps and Mildfordhaven roads. "We will firstly concentrate on the major routes, then to the feeder roads," Gamato said.

The National Works, Provincial Works, Lae City Authority, Lae Chamber of Commerce and Morobe provincial administration will be supervise the road works project.

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