The upgrade will be done on the 56km road from Alotau town to East Cape in Milne Bay, which is where the national highway ends.
The Magi Highway goes southeast from Port Moresby, turning inland and east just before Rigo, passing through Kwikila.
The road then runs across the Mai Kussa River at Bannon Bridge, where, within a few kilometres, the asphalt concrete gives way to a graded road which continues to Kupiano.
Poorer quality roads continue to Cape Rodney but locations further east into Abau, Amazon Bay and Milne Bay are not accessible by road. There is a turn-off to Hula near Rigo.
The contract for the East Cape road upgrade was recently awarded to construction company COVEC for K89 million.
The upgrade includes the sealing of the road, construction of sea walls along parts of the highway and the reconstruction of five bridges.
Member for Alotau Open and Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Charles Abel, said there’s still quite a gap to go to fully complete the national highway.
Abel told Loop PNG that it will still take some time before the highway is fully connected from Central to Milne Bay.
However, he said it’s getting closer and closer, particularly because there’s an oil palm operation now extending from Milne Bay into Abau.
“There’s the Cloudy Bay timber operation, there’s a road network there and so it will happen sometime in the future.
“As the country progresses, it is important that it is linked up properly by road so it is more efficient and cost saving for businesses and our people to move around,” Abel said.
He added that the total cost of the Magi Highway, from Port Moresby to East Cape, would change depending on a brand new road cut or upgrading of the existing road.