by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
The Japanese Ambassador to PNG his Excellency, Morio Matsumoto, was in Lae for two days to inspect projects that involved the Japanese Government.
On Tuesday 9th, the Japanese Ambassador’s visit to Lae was spent at the Markham Bridge.
It had been rehabilitated over eight years using Japanese technical expertise and 40 million kina of aid.
“Even after about ten years, the bridge is still here,” said His Excellency Ambassador Matsumoto whilst on the Bridge inspecting.
Floods destroyed four pillars in 2004. In 2005 Japanese studies showed faults in four pillars. They were fixed the pillars in 2011.
“The bridge is vital. It serves villages in Huon, Bulolo and Menyamya districts. It also links the Wafi Gold mine, Zenag and other businesses to Lae city,” said Provincial Works Manager, Kingsford Kassen.
An average of about 400 vehicles pass over the bridge every day.
From the Markham Bridge, the Ambassador travelled to the Bukawa road pilot site. A pilot program with Japanese funded machinery and technical assistance from Japanese Engineers.
“We had to help the Papua New Guinean Engineers to assist them to develop their own abilities to make better roads,” said his Excellency Ambassador Matsumoto whilst speaking to students and Provincial works personnel along the Bukawa road.
Provincial Works Manager, Kingsford Kassen, and his engineers have had the opportunity to work with Japanese experts.
“Over the years we had downgraded our capacity Japan through JICA has come to assist us in building the capacity with the resources and also technical assistance,” said Provincial Works Manager, Kingsford Kassen.
At the Lae district office, JICA has a group of experts in urban development, Social Welfare, Finance and Engineering developing the Lae-Nadzab Urban development plans.
Yesterday, the Ambassador and his delegation met at the PNG Power Office in Lae to get an update on the Ramu Transmission system re-inforcement project and the power system development master plan.
Ambassador Matsumoto was also taken on a tour of the Taraka Substation by PNG Power personnel.