Linking the Nation
THE O’Neill Government has delivered more roads and bridges during its term than any previous government, Works Minister Francis Awesa says.
He said this when opening the first two lanes of the new four-lane Laloki Bridge in the National Capital District yesterday.
“This Government had delivered massive high impact infrastructures in just four years that was never seen and done before,” he said.
“For the first time, this Government is delivering climate-resilient infrastructure to withstand extreme weather conditions that pose a grave danger to our roads and bridges.”
Awesa said the Laloki Bridge, which would become the first four-lane bridge in the country,was one of three new bridges along the Hiritano Highway under the Bridge Replacement for Improved Rural Access Project to replace bailey bridges around the country.
The bridges as Laloki (80-metre long), Brown River (80m) and Angabanga (180m), were built by the China Harbour Engineering Company within 18 months for a total cost of K80 million.
The project was funded through a loan from the Asian Development Bank.
The project includes seven bridges along the Hiritano and Magi highways in Central.
The second package will be rolled out in West New Britain, Madang, East Sepik and West Sepik.
Awesa confirmed that the Government was taking stringent measures to eradicate the “compensation mentality” prevalent in the Highlands region and other parts of the country.
He said “unnecessary and ridiculous” land compensation claims were a hindrance to national development.
Last week, the people at Guo in Chimbu demanded to be paid K1 million first before work to repair a section of the national highway damaged by a landslide could proceed.
Awesa said the Works Department had been inundated with numerous demands amounting to millions of kina.
“This Government and the Works Department will not entertain these unnecessary and ridiculous compensation claims, which are an impediment to Papua New Guinea’s development, growth and prosperity,” he said.
“That is why the O’Neill Government will introduce new laws with tougher penalties for people who try to hold the country to ransom with their demands for compensation.”
Works Secretary David Wereh said the completion of the three bridges (in Central) reinforced the department’s focus to replace all single-lane Bailey bridges with double-lane concrete structures that reflected high standards of engineering.
Wereh said the department had bypassed its target of 800m of bridge structures for all roads by 2017.