K750m to repair roads annually

The overall cost of poor roads in PNG is estimated to be growing at K750 million per year in road replacement costs. This includes climate induced weather-related emergency restoration works borne by the state as the asset owner.

Another K460 million per year is needed on road traffic accidents, delay costs and wear and tear costs borne by the vehicle operators and road users around.

Minister for Works and Highways, Solan Mirisim, when delivering his Ministerial Statement in parliament yesterday, said as a result of the underdeveloped and run-down condition of the country's road network, decreased road accessibility is a bottleneck to government's aspirations to diversify and grow the economy to K200 billion mark in the next 10 years.

He clarified that considering the long-term impacts of the declining conditions of the country's road network, the Marape/Rosso Government's ongoing Connect PNG Economic Transport Infrastructure Development Program 2020-2040 aims to build and maintain 16,000km of roads consisting of national highways, missing link roads, bridges, provincial and district roads throughout the country at an estimated investment cost of K20 billion.

Minister Mirisim told parliament that the Government's medium term plan is that, by 2027, we must upgrade and improve to highway standard 4200km of the 16 priority national highways in PNG and open up 1800km missing link roads including the Trans Island Highway, to meet the overall vision of Government to create a single uninterrupted national road network that will, for the first time, connect the Momase and Highlands regions to Port Moresby in the Southern Region.

For the New Guinea Islands, East and West New Britain Province will be connected with a proper two-lane highway standard road so that it can facilitate agricultural development as ENB and West New Britain, have huge development potential.