On the road to recovery
A new funding arrangement with ADB will upgrade the Highlands Highway to international standards
THE Highlands Highway will be upgraded to international standard with funding from the Asian Development Bank.
The current woes experienced by the Highway as a result of extreme weather and its deteriorating condition will be solved once and for all.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced this yesterday saying the Government and the ADB were nearing completion of the funding arrangement which will fix the highway once and for all in this long term permanent solution.
The announcement was also made on the eve of ADB’s 50th anniversary of operation.
Although no figure was announced, it is believed it will be in the billions under which the upgrading including other major national highways will also be funded.
Mr O’Neill this week met with the ADB’s Executive Director for Papua New Guinea Won-Mok Choi in Port Moresby to discuss the arrangement. He said the executive director will finalise talks with the government.
“We are upgrading the Highlands Highway to international standard, and we are implementing strategies to deal with extreme weather that causes damage.
“Work is already scheduled to begin on crucial parts of the Highlands Highway in the coming weeks, and this will further contribute to long-term positive outcomes for the highway.”
“There is much more that we can do to strengthen our national infrastructure, particular our national highways.
“Following decades of neglect, we are bringing our road network back to life,” Mr O’Neill said.
He said the vital road networks had to be restored and upgraded in order for people to get their good to market, enable travel to work, studies and family re-unions.
He said damaged roads will also be upgraded and new ones built where there were none.
“The Highlands Highway is an important component in our national road network, considering the millions of people it services, but so too are other national highways of vital significance.
“We will continue to rebuild damaged roads, and build new roads where they have not existed before.
“Our country is changing and the number of roads that are appearing, and the places that are being connected, continues to expand,” Mr O’Neill said.
He expressed his gratitude to Mr Choi for ADB’s work in Papua New Guinea and throughout the region.
“I would like to thank the ADB for its efforts to date to help us to build the road network infrastructure that this country needs for today and into the future.
“In my discussion with Mr Choi, it is clear that the ADB is interested in expanding its engagement in Papua New Guinea.
“Potential new projects are now being discussed further with the Minister for Works Francis Awesa and further announcements will be made at the appropriate time.
“As the ADB celebrates its 50th year of operation, I expect that its partnership with Papua New Guinea, and other Pacific nations, will continue to strengthen long into the future,” Mr O’Neill said.