By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Chimbu to Madang Highway is a major road network for the provinces of Chimbu and Madang. With work on its construction moving forward, locals are adamant that the road will bring services directly to the people, and offer economic opportunities that were once, non-existent.
EMTV’s Sasha Pei-Silovo was in the province recently, and files this report.
The construction of the Chimbu to Madang Highway is progressing well; with the important road network earmarked to be officially opened later in the year.
The Gembogl to Bundi project, initiated by the Kundiawa-Gembogl District Administration under the leadership of local MP, Tobias Kulang, was launched in October 2014, and received additional support from the government, through a commitment of 5 million Kina from the prime minister.
The road link is of great historical significance to the people of the Chimbu and Madang provinces; once used as a trade route, and the upgraded highway will now pave the way for vast economic opportunities for the people, and efficient service delivery.
The economic corridor will also boost the agriculture and tourism sectors, and is especially important for the people of the remote Mitnande LLG, in the Kundiawa-Gembogl District, which is where the highway begins on the Chimbu side and where Mt Wilhem is located. Locals say, the road will enable tourists to travel directly from Madang to Mitnande, to trek PNG’s highest mountain.
Customary landowners on the Chimbu part of the highway are happy with the building of the road. They say that for far too long, they have been neglected, but can now see tangible development on their land.
The Kundiawa-Gembogl District Administration is prioritising infrastructure development projects, such as the upgrading of bridges, housing for public servants, classrooms, district administration facilities, and the Gembogl to Madang Highway, among other projects.