Construction Begins On Highway Linking Port Moresby To Lae

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Trans-island highway to link PNG’s 2 largest cities

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 21, 2014) – Work has begun on the multi-million kina road - the Trans-island highway - linking Port Moresby to Lae.

Motorists can travel directly to Lae from Port Moresby through Kerema, Malalaua, Gulf, up to Kaintiba in the hinterland bordering Morobe and Eastern Highlands, and on to Menyamya in Morobe. It then links up with the Bulolo Highway on to Lae.

Works Minister Francis Awesa and Works secretary David Wereh confirmed in interviews with The National yesterday that work began in March on the 20-km portion from Malalaua to Kaintiba.

It will bring much needed services to the remote Anga people in the mountains of Gulf, Morobe and Eastern Highlands.

The highway is expected to go through some rough and rugged terrain. The department views the stretch from Malalaua in Gulf to Menyamya in Morobe as the biggest obstacle.

"One of the important portions is the one from Malalaua to Kaintiba, and on to Menyamya and Aseki, eventually linking up with the Wau-Bulolo Highway," he said.

"We’ve done more than 20km so far to reach the top of the mountain at Kaintiba.

"We’re very happy as this is the first time that people in the mountains of Kaintiba will be connected to better land transport that will enable them to bring their coffee, agricultural produce, as well as have access to better service delivery. From there, we’ll progress to the other side (Menyamya)."

He said K10 million had been allocated this year while more funding would be expected in the 2015 budget.

Awesa said the earliest people could be driving from Lae to Port Moresby was within two years on a pilot track using four-wheel-drive vehicles initially. The other obstacle is to build a bypass over the constantly-flooded Kumalu River along the main Bulolo Highway.

"Our priority is to get that Kumalu bypass done first so that there is access to Wau and Bulolo," Awesa said.

"Our priority is that one, and then later on, next year, we’ll allocate money for a pilot track for four-wheel drives and eventually do the major highway."

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