Monday, November 28, 2011

K191 million deal signed to fix bridges

PAPUA New Guinea and the Asian Development Bank have signed a deal for a US$90 million (K191.48 million) loan to help the country rehabilitate 20-30 narrow, modular bridges on five national roads or replace them with permanent two-lane bridges, The National reports.
Some of the bridges due for replacement will be reassembled on rural roads to connect communities to urban centres.
The loan signing ceremony took place at the PNG Embassy in Manila, Philippines.
PNG Ambassador Christian Vihruri signed the loan deal on behalf of the government.
Later, the loan agreement was signed by Bindu Lohani, vice-president, knowledge management and sustainable development, on behalf of the bank, which is 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,” Hasan Masood, the project leader in ADB’s Pacific department, said.
The bulk of PNG’s population live 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 social and economic development.
The project will 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 programme and covers five of the 16 priority national roads identified by the government in its national transport development plan

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