Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PNG, ADB sign K209m loan to fix bridges

Source: Business, Post courier, November 05 2011
PAPUA New Guinea and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a loan worth $90 million (K209.6m) to help PNG rehabilitate 20-30 narrow, modular bridges on five national roads or replace them with permanent two-lane bridges.
Some of the bridges due for replacement will be reassembled on rural roads to connect rural communities to urban centres.
The loan signing ceremony took place at the PNG Embassy in Manila, Philippines. The PNG Ambassador Christian Vihruri signed the loan on behalf of the Government of PNG. Later, the loan agreement was signed by Bindu N. Lohani, vice-president, Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, on behalf of ADB which is based in Manila.
“Replacing temporary steel bridges with wider, permanent bridges will help people and goods move from place to place much faster and at a lower cost with fewer worries about poor weather conditions,” said Hasan Masood, the project leader in ADB’s Pacific Department who attended the ceremony.
The bulk of PNG’s population lives in rural areas and the island nation’s rugged geography and scattered settlements mean the road network on the mainland is not fully connected. The Government has recognised lack of transport infrastructure as a major obstacle to PNG’s economic and social development.
The project will also finance road safety campaigns in rural areas along the five priority roads. Activities will include training for school children and communities, complemented by media campaigns which will address the personal safety concerns of women and children.
Road safety is a major issue in PNG with higher fatality rates in rural areas. Pedestrians account for most of these fatalities.
The project is the first phase of a more comprehensive bridge replacement program and covers five of the 16 priority national roads identified by the Government in its National Transport Development Plan. The roads are in the provinces of Central, Madang, East Sepik, West New Britain, and East New Britain.

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