PNG Highlands Highway Closed Until Further Notice

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Bena Bridge outside Goroka washed away

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 17, 2016) – The Highlands Highway is temporarily closed until further notice.

Papua New Guinea’s vital road link to economic activities such as gas and petroleum development in Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces was severed in Eastern Highlands Province.

Works and Implementation Secretary David Wereh announced this yesterday.

Mr Wereh said that the highway was temporarily closed after the Bena Bridge, near Goroka, was washed away by continuous heavy rain. He also urged the locals within the vicinity to respect works engineers who were onsite and allow them to carry out work freely without interference to restore the flow of traffic along the Highlands Highway.

Mr Wereh said that commuters travelling the highway section in Eastern Highlands Province between Kainantu and Goroka should be aware that the abutments of the bridge had been washed away.

He said engineers and contractors who are inspecting the damages will compile an urgent report to temporary measure to be taken to allow the flow of traffic to continue as normal. Mr Wereh said bridge parts are being mobilised and temporary access route is expected to be restored within a week.

The Works Department has urged the travelling public and business houses to adjust their plans to consolidate the emergency situation until traffic is restored.

He said the situation was beyond the department’s control due to the extreme weather patterns that are causing wide spread flooding and have wreaked havoc to many sections of the Highlands Highway as well as roads and bridges in other provinces.

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