Henganofi MP, Robert Atiyafa has called on the National Government to allocate sections of the Highlands Highway for Provincial Governments and District Authorities to maintain.
It comes when the Okuk highway, the country’s biggest economic corridor is deteriorating in crucial sections from Lae to the Highlands region. The Kassam Pass section needs urgent maintenance.
The Kassam Pass section of the Okuk Highway is a climb from Morobe’s Markham Valley into the Eastern Highlands.
In recent years, the road has deteriorated into an appalling state; public transport, and highway trucks have to maneuver large cracks and potholes.
Sometimes landslides can stop traffic and disrupt businesses, costing the loss of millions of Kina.
” The drainage system was very clean, people were working everyday on the roads. But now you cant see anyone anyone working on it. We have done away with Works and Supply. The Works camps along the roads have have closed down,” said Robert Atiyafa.
Henganofi MP, Robert Atiyafa who was once a premier, and later a senior bureaucrat in the Eastern highlands Provincial Works department says when Works camps stopped, the roads were neglected.
Every year, the National Government allocates funds to cater for maintenance, but how contractors are tasked to do that job and spend that money is something the Police Minister wants to know.
Some sections of the Highlands Highway has been maintained by contractors, but because of the weather and the amount of heavy vehicles using the road, the onslaught has taken it’s toll, the Highlands Highway is a back bone of the economy, mining projects, coffee exports rely heavy on it’s condition.