by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
The four bridges destroyed by cyclone Guba in 2007 in the Oro Province will be reconstructed.
At the cost of K139 million, the project has been managed by the Australian Government under the PNG-Australia Transport Sector Support Program.
After eight long years of struggle and lives lost following the devastating effects caused by cyclone Guba in 2007, the people of Northern province will now see their bridges reconstructed, thanks to the Australian government.
The local community was excited as they welcomed the delegates led by Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, and Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Deborah Stokes. They were also in the company of Works Secretary, David Wereh, and Transport Secretary, Roy Mumu.
Prior to the main event in Popondetta town, Ms Stokes was taken to Kumusi where she participated in a ground-breaking ceremony to kick-start work.
Kumusi bridge will be the longest two-lane bridge in the country next to Markham Bridge in Morobe Province.
Back in Popondetta town, Ms Stokes said improving roads and bridges are part of the long term commitment between Australia and PNG.
The four bridges to be reconstructed include Eroro, Girua, Ambogo and Kumusi. These vital links will ensure the smooth flow of economic activities particularly for smallholder oil palm growers who depend entirely on the links to sell their harvest.
The destruction caused by the effects of Cyclone Guba brought challenges to the works and transport departments, respectively.
This included technical challenges in coming up with designs that could withstand the ferocity of the rivers in Northern province and other future natural disasters among others.
Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, said his people have suffered enough and it was time to see tangible changes to move the province forward.
The four bridges will be reconstructed by an Australian company, Canstruct Construction Solutions. The owner Robin Murphy was an engineer in the Western Highlands in the early 1960s.
As construction is underway, the provincial works team has constructed temporary crosses, bailey bridges on three of the bridges while the remaining one has a wooden bridge. This will ensure the smooth flow of traffic and people can still continue their regular business.