The Aum and Kapira Bridges along the New Britain Highway in West New Britain Province will be reconstructed soon following a ground breaking ceremony this week.
The project was funded under the Japanese Government’s grant aid at a cost of over K80 million.
The New Britain Highway contributes to the country’s K1.5 billion economic growth mainly through the Oil Palm Industry and forestry.
Japanese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Satoshi Nakajima, Chief Representative of JICA, Takashi Toyama, Japanese Embassy officials, Works Department Secretary, David Wereh, Provincial Works Department officials, Governor Sasindran Muthuvel and Talasea MP Francis Marus, visited the JICA project sites to launch the ground breaking ceremony for the reconstruction of Aum and Kapira bridges.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony Mr. Nakajima said the Japanese Government is very grateful to fund this project which create strong diplomatic ties between PNG and Japan. He said this project is a contribution from the people of Japan to the people of PNG.
New Britain Highway in West New Britain Province stretches for 203 kilometres and has 38 bridges over major rivers crossing the highway.
The province is one of the 16 priority National Highways in the country that contributes to the country’s economy through K1.5 billion through oil palm industry, and forestry.
These industries utilise the West New Britain Highway as the sole transportation route for exporting products also benefited over 180,000 people through employment opportunities.
However, the highway has become impassable due their bridge collapse and deteriorating state which is affecting the agroforestry industry.
The Aum Bridge is closed to traffic because of its deteriorating state thus forcing vehicles to take detour around the bridge. While the Kapiura bridge is subject to traffic controls due to insufficient load bearing capacity.
In March 2013, the PNG Government requested the Government of Japan to carry out a survey for the reconstruction of these bridges at the cost of K85 million. The Kapiura and Aum bridge were originally built by a Japanese company based on a policy to construct a road for timber production in the late 1980s.