The K20 million project, which was launched recently, will replace culverts, patch potholes and undertake full-width pavement repairs through to 2020. This will improve the condition of the road in the near term while extending its lifecycle.
Australian Minister Counsellor, Benedict David, underscored the importance of prioritising maintenance.
“Road maintenance is so important for keeping businesses and communities connected. It ensures roads are kept in good condition in the most cost-effective way.
“This maintenance-first approach is a shared priority for the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership and is delivering real benefits to the travelling public.”
Initial work to clear the roadsides is already making travel safer for pedestrians and vehicles using the Sepik Highway.
Member for Maprik, John Simon, can see the benefits of this project already.
“The agriculture sector is a major part of our economy. A reliable connection between Maprik and Wewak is hugely important to the continued development of our electorate. Already more than 6,000 vehicles travel along the Sepik Highway each week and this is expected to increase.
“Reducing travel times and maintaining accessibility will provide a significant boost to local vanilla and cocoa growers as they bring their goods to market. I am very thankful for the partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia.”
The impacts are clear along the whole length of the Highway. Governor Allan Bird highlights how significant this is for the province.
“Good roads are at the heart of delivering services to the people. This work is improving the comfort and safety for road users and providing many opportunities.
“More than 110 local residents are already employed in a range of roles from traffic controllers, to machine operators, and project engineers.”
These works complement other Australian-funded contracts on the Sepik Highway beyond Maprik to the provincial border. Local contractors continue to undertake a range of essential maintenance activities which are improving the safety and reliability of the highway.
The project is being delivered through the Papua New Guinea – Australia Transport Sector Support Program.