By MALUM NALU
The contractor charged with building the controversial Wasa Bridge over 320m of swamps and marshlands in Kandep, Enga, says it is confident of delivering despite the many impediments.
Chief executive of Clean-Green Energy, Ken Sop-Lepen, gave this assurance at the launching of the project by Works Minister Francis Awesa last Friday.
|Sop-Lepen (right) shows National Planning Minister Charles Abel around the Wasa Bridge project site,-Pictures by MALUM NALU|
The project has been shrouded in controversy with allegations of millions of kina being spent over the last couple of years, with K35 million allocated in the 2014 Budget.
This money will support further scoping work alone with the project expected to cost many more millions of kina.
Sop-Lepen said his company was working with Japanese expertise on the project,
“We have had impediments at the Wasa Bridge for a very long time,” he told senior government ministers, MPs, bureaucrats and the people of Kandep at the project site.
|Dredge at the Wasa bridge project site.|
“Supported by the Treasurer (Kandep MP Don Polye), and the Minister (Awesa), we have been given this opportunity to prove ourselves that regardless of the circumstances and the geo-tech, we want to deliver a value-for-money infrastructure in this country.
“We have proven that with the Tagali Bridge and I’m sure we can deliver a bridge under any circumstances whatsoever.
“What we’re trying to do now is to check the soil profile, geo-tech, and from the geo-tech we will design the structural infrastructure for the bridge and then we’ll do the actual fabrication and will advise the government on the costs.
“Hopefully, we’ll do a value-for-money project that won’t be inflated and make the people of Kandep, the Enga, the Highlands and Papua New Guinea proud.
“It happens that this is my humble village and I’m honored to deliver the best for my village, for my district, and for my province and the nation.”
Awesa said the Wasa Bridge would be a vital cog in the rural roads network linking Enga, Southern Highlands and gas-rich Hela provinces.
|Awesa launches the Wasa Bridge project.|
“Without roads, there will be no good services in health, education, business, whatever,” he said.
“Today is an important occasion for Kandep where now the people of Kandep will have access to good roads to Hela and Southern Highlands provinces through to Mendi, Magarima and Tari.
“The government has already committed a lot of money, something like K19 million for this bridge, on top of some money we have already spent.
“It seems like there’s no end to it but with the soil testing we’ll get it right this time.
“We’ve been part of the road from Mendi to here, committing K250 million...
“Another road is from Laiagam down.
|Kandep warriors celebrate the launching of the Wasa Bridge project.|
“This is a milestone in the development of this electorate.”
Awesa expressed confidence in the contractor.
“The new technology can deliver so I’m very confident,” he said.
“I know that they can deliver this bridge.
“Whatever had happened is a thing of the past.”