By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
The poor road conditions of the Usino-Bundi portion of the Morobe-Madang highway, is becoming a constant hurdle for travellers of the highway. The roads were maintained in mid- 2013, but have since deteriorated.
Bus drivers transporting passengers from Lae to Madang, and vice versa, have complained about the damages done to their vehicles, as a result of the appalling state of the road network. The Usino-Bundi District is located in the south of the Madang Province.
The Masio bus prepares for its trip to Madang; passengers are onboard and they are now refuelling for the 336 kilometre dash to Madang.
It’s another day of work for bus driver, Kingsley Pari and his crew, but, they have concerns that extend to the Usino-Bundi section of the Lae-Madang highway.
Kingsley Pari says the Usino-Bundi roads aren’t like before; he says that there have been landslides and armed hold ups by opportunists in the area. The Usino-Bundi section, when at its worst, can hold up traffic, and cause many inconveniences for the travelling public.
Much was anticipated during the opening of the roads, after being fixed. Usino Bundi MP, Anton Yagama, in his address to mark the event, promised economic development for the people of the electorate.
Yagama had said that more funding would be allocated to improve the roads. Madang Governor, Jim Kas, also promised to ensure that funding continued for the up keep of the last kilometres of the ragged road, between the Bismack ranges, before entering into Madang town.
Kas made these promise, on the condition that landowners never ask for compensation. Two years on and in 2015, the road is now becoming a problem for the traveling public, who rely on the road network as their life line to access basic services, such as health and education.
On the 7th of April, 2014, the local MP had said that the Usino Bundi electorate was prioritising roads as a key infrastructure, before other services are considered. “Road infrastructure is considered a key element for Usino Bundi to develop”, said Mr Yagama. Read story here.
Daniel Aloi, Madang’s Provincial Administrator, explained that the geology of the highway doesn’t favour maintenance.
“The fair picture would be maintenance continues, but the geology is very unstable,” says Aloi.
He added that a more permanent solution for the Usino-Bundi road problem would be to re-route the road network.