After meeting with World Bank officials in Port Moresby on Tuesday, January 24, PM O’Neill said the World Bank is working with the Government in the development of programs to not only build roads and highways, but to ensure their repair and maintenance.
“Ensuring ongoing highway maintenance and repair is just as important as building new highways around our nation,” the Prime Minister said.
“Too often we have seen great roads and highways built, but then when you go back in 10 years they are falling apart.
“Our Government is not repeating the mistakes of the past, and we are being proactive to maintain our national road infrastructure.”
“Repairing and maintaining significant national road arteries will continue to be priority for the Government.
“These roads include the Highlands Highway, Sepik Highway, Hiritano and Magi Highway, the Ramu-Madang Highway, New Britain Highway, Buluminski Highway and the West Coast Highway in New Ireland Province.”
The Prime Minister said the Government will engage closely with the World Bank, and the private sector, to develop maintenance and repair programs as part of ongoing national highway network expansion.
“The World Bank has significant experience around the world in road maintenance and working with the private sector.
“The Government and the World Bank share the perspective that the private sector has to be consulted in the processes of tender preparation and execution.
“We will continue to work with the World Bank on implementing a program that will go to the market and engage contractors to repair and maintain specific sections of roads.”
The Prime Minister said he has successfully deployed a similar maintenance program in the Ialibu-Pangia District.
“In my electorate we have a zero-pothole policy,” PM O’Neill said.
“Contractors have responsibility for certain sections of road and it is their job to go out every day and look for damage, then immediately repair it before it gets worse.
“By working smarter, and dealing with minor damage before it becomes major, we are saving money and minimising disruptions to communities who use the roads.”
The World Bank delegation who met with Prime Minister O’Neill were Michael Kerf, Country Director; Anne Tully, Country Program Coordinator; and Andrew Cooper, Senior Operations Officer.