New engineering design needed for Highway

The current soil erosion, damaging many sections of the 700km Highlands Highway, is not because of lack of road maintenance, says Department of Works (DoW) Secretary David Wereh.

Wereh said the soil structure of the roads, particularly in the Highlands region, is unstable.    

The highway, sometimes referred to as the Okuk Highway, connects the populous highlands region to the coastal areas of Morobe and Madang in the Momase Region.

Wereh told Loop PNG that a new engineering design, created to address soil movement, will limit continuous damage on the Highlands Highway during the wet season.

He added that DoW is in talks with the National Government to find a long-term solution, and new methods and standards of constructing roads in the country is the way forward.

Meanwhile, Wereh confirmed that K100,000 was paid to landowners for work to start on the damaged part of the Chimbu section of the highway at Guo.  

Road maintenance started on Wednesday after the payment was made; a balance of K400,000 will be paid later.    

Wereh said the landowners demanded K1 million as a form of compensation, but after an assessment and negotiations by the DoW, the landowners agreed to halve their demand.

(File picture)

Charles Yapumi