By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang
The people of Bogia, Sumkar, Middle Ramu and the East & West Sepik provinces are still affected since the collapse of the Banab Bridge in January this year along Madang’s North Coast Road. Locals and commuters are calling on the Works Department to fix the bridge and not waste any more time.
Steven Kalai, a local within the area, says they have had to build a makeshift bridge and are using ferries to assist commuters, while they wait for the Works Department to start work.
He says Works and the provincial government have not done anything to commence the reconstruction of a permanent bridge.
Commuters and business operators , have been hit hard since the bridge collapsed. Women and young girls have also become victims of petty crimes and bag snatching in the area. The supply of school materials to Bogia and SUmkar Districts have also been affected.
They are calling on their local MP’s, including the Madang Governor and the Acting provincial administrator to visit the site and see the problems for themselves.
In January, Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru, inspected the bridge and saw first hand the impact the bridge had on the commuters. The Works Secretary, David Wereh also inspected the bridge while checking out the temporarily bypass that runs from Banab through to Wasab junction before going out to Matugar. The 10km bypass was said to cost the national government K5 million.
Opening the bypass was said to assist commuters ease the cost of transporting their goods while waiting for the reconstruction of a permanent bridge.
According to the National Planning and Monitoring Minister, Richard Maru, it will take at least 12 months to reconstruct a permanent bridge.
Locals have waited four months today (May 4) since the bridge collapsed on the 4th of January, and still, no work has been done.