Highlands Highway Cut Off

By Edwin Fidelis – EM TV, Lae

The Bani area of Kainantu, in the Eastern Highlands Province remained closed after heavy rains on Tuesday washed off part, of the Bani Bridge.

Locals along the Munefintino and Kainantu area took advantage of the situation and have blocked off various parts of the highway, and collected fees from vehicles that pass through.

The blockade has affected commuters and supplies that are being transported to the highlands.

Locals today demanded that the government and the works minister visit the affected area.

By midday today, the blockades were removed, but vehicles still could not get across the Bani Bridge and onto Kainantu.

The blockade was spurred by an outstanding land issue between the government and the people here.

On Tuesday, the heavy downpour caused the river to flood wearing away earth from the edges of the bridge.

Big trucks and PMV buses, bound for the Highlands, Lae and Madang were stranded on either side of the bridge.

It’s not clear when the bridge will be repaired, but what has eventuated today, brought on by the Kainantu people, may prolong work on this bridge.

More delays here would affect the other seven Highlands provinces in terms of food and fuel supplies.

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