K130 million to rebuild PNG's cyclone-hit bridges

BRIDGES swept away by a tropical cyclone in Papua New Guinea will be replaced in a K130.4 million construction project.
K130 million to rebuild PNG's cyclone-hit bridges K130 million to rebuild PNG's cyclone-hit bridges K130 million to rebuild PNG's cyclone-hit bridges K130 million to rebuild PNG's cyclone-hit bridges K130 million to rebuild PNG's cyclone-hit bridges

PNG's Department of Works and Implementation yesterday signed a contract with Australian construction firm Canstruct to rebuild four bridges in Oro Province that were destroyed by Cyclone Guba.

Roads, bridges and houses were swept away in the 2007 cyclone, which caused an estimated K500 million in damage and killed 149 people.

Department of Works acting secretary David Wereh said the Oro bridges had been debated for far too long.

"The lengthy procurement process was the reason behind the delay in executing this priority project, but I am pleased that an access route for the people of Oro commuting into towns and districts will finally be constructed through these four bridges," he said.

Wereh said his department under the O'Neill/Dion government was committed to meeting The Transport Infrastructure Development goals outlined in GoPNG's Medium Term Development Plan and the Vision 2050.

"We value the partnership that the government of PNG and Australia has enjoyed for a number of years and we are committed to continuing this relationship as we work towards achieving the goal of creating better access routes for people living in both the rural and urban communities."

The government of PNG is contributing K85.5million, while the Australian government is providing up to K52.4million in new funds to the project.

Up to 100 local people will be employed in the construction, which followed an open international tender process to design and construct the four bridges.

The Department of Works will manage the project, with technical assistance provided through the PNG - Australia Transport Sector Support Program.

Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Deborah Stokes witnessed the signing at an event in Port Moresby.

"PNG and Australia's many years of work to realise this major project is testament to our joint commitment to provide better infrastructure for the people of PNG," she said.

"These four bridges will drive economic development and better connect thousands of people in Oro Province, improving their access to basic goods and services they need and deserve.

"Australia is spending more than a third of the K1billion aid program this financial year on infrastructure - not just for roads and bridges, but to build and maintain health centres, schools and law and justice facilities."

Construction of the four replacement bridges will take place at Ambogo River Bridge, linking Popondetta and Kokoda; Eroro River Bridge, linking Popondetta and Oro Bay Wharf; Girua River Bridge, linking Popondetta Town and Popondetta Airport; and Kumusi River Bridge, linking Popondetta and Kokoda.

Construction is scheduled to start early next year, with completion by the end of 2016.


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