by Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Lae
Works Secretary, David Wereh, says at least four weeks is needed to fix the Ramu – Madang Highway.
Wereh said while work is being done on the five broken bridges between Lae and Madang, the travelling public will continue to change buses on sections of the highway.
He said the funding for reconstructing these bridges will be sourced by the national government, through the Works Department.
“We cannot estimate the cost at this stage but provincial works officers are advised to work within the allocated government budget,” said Wereh.
Wereh said officers from the Works Department have already gone out to assess the damage caused by the recent floods in Madang.
He said once the costs are calculated, permanent work will be conducted to reconstruct the bridges.
The delay in the reconstruction is a direct result of the need for proper planning and the allocations of funds.
Apart from the Ramu – Madang highway, the department is looking at restoring the Lae – Bulolo and the West New Britain Highways, because the disruption in road networks has denied people’s access to basic government services.
Specific instructions were issued by the Works Minister, Francis Awesa, to all provincial works officers in Madang and the other affected provinces to complete the work within four weeks.
This means, passengers using the Ramu-Madang highway for the duration of the reconstruction will continue to pay additional fees to carriers for the transportation of their baggage.
PMV Operators will also be charge one hundred kina before they will be allowed to cross any of the collapsed bridges.