by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
In June this year, the Minister for Aaaaagriculture and Member for Middle Ramu, Tommy Tomscoll, along with Madang Governor Jim Kas conducted the ground breaking ceremony for the Madang-Simbai road.
In less than six months, what used to be a thick rainforest has been cleared off for a new road that will link Middle Ramu to Madang’s provincial capital. The Middle Ramu Road is an example of implementation compared to other similar roads that have been heavily funded but are still incomplete.
Middle Ramu District poses problems for the few people who walk through thick jungles for close to 80 kilometres, which typically takes two weeks to access services in Madang’s capital while the majority pay hefty boat fees from Ramu River to Madang. Since the ground breaking ceremony in June this year, work has progressed.
Project contractor MK Civil Works and Construction has cleared off 78 kilometres of thick forest and widened it to create a new road link from Madang -Simbai to the mouth of Ramu River. What may have seemed like an impossible task was completed in less than six months, with the first phase of the five-year project complete. Overseeing the construction is project manager Donald Poli.
Compared to the millions of kina spent on short distance roads, it cost only K7.8 million to cut through 87 kilometres of thick forest. Aaaaagriculture Minister and local MP, Tommy Tomscoll allocated K5 million to the road project for the next five years. Project costs have been reduced as MK Civil Works and Construction is using 24 machineries owned by the district company, Middle Ramu Machinery.
The road link through Madang, Aiom and Simbai, as well as Pasingkap to Ramu River was a missing road link that has opened up after 40 years. District Administrator Humphrey Kolai said the road link will enable people to access much-needed services. As an economic corridor, K20,000 from Middle Ramu’s DSIP funds will be used to construct three markets. The local member of parliament will also purchase a sawmill at the cost of K64,000 for the market timbers.
Apart from this, the people can now transport cocoa to sell in Madang as currently Middle Ramu District has a cocoa export license. The road will be officially opened by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on the 12th of December.