January 30, 2015
Infrastructure developments are integral part of economic growth and prosperity across societies today, and Papua New Guinea, a country with dilapidated infrastructures, it is no exception. Ports, bridges, roads and highways link people to basic goods and services. In addition, it connects people to their surrounding communities therefore the need for infrastructure development is identified by National Executive Council under its Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP 2011-2015) as one of the high priority areas for economic advancement. This year (2015), PNG is privileged to embark on such a tangible development funded by the Government and People of Japan, one of PNG's largest trade and investment partner.
On January 23 this year, The Government of PNG in partnership with Japan, signed the Exchange of Notes of Japan's ODA Project amounting up to JPY 3,160,000,000 to reconstruct two very important Bridges on New Britain Island, (an Island hosting about 513,926 people with considerable exports of oil palm and forestry products). The Exchange of Notes for the project was signed between Hon. Rimbink Pato, Minister for Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of The Independent State of PNG and His Excellency Morio Matsumoto, Ambassador of Japan on behalf of Japanese Government. The Grant Agreement for the project was later concluded on 30th January 2015, between Ms. Hakaua Harry, the Acting Secretary of Department of National Planning and Monitoring on behalf of The Independent state of PNG and Mr. Shigeru Sugiyama, Chief Representative of JICA PNG Office in implementing the project while witnessed by Hon. Sasindran Muthuvel, Governor of West New Britain Province and Mr. Eric Sikam, Department of Works as the executing agency of the Project.
From left, Ms. Hakaua Harry Acting Secretary of Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM) and Mr. Shigeru Sugiyama, Chief Representative of JICA PNG Office signing the Grant Agreement on 30th January 2015.
Ms. Hakaua Harry, and Mr. Sugiyama exchange signed documents while Mr. Eric Sikam of Works Department and West New Britain Province Governor Hon. Sasindran Muthuvel look on.
The funding of reconstruction project came in response to the formal request that was submitted, by the Government of PNG to reconstruct the aged bridges of Kapiura and Aum which are both located between Kimbe Town and Silanga Town on New Britain Highway. In response to this request, JICA, technically supported by CHODAI Co., Ltd and INGEROSEC Corporation, has been carrying out the preparatory survey to examine the feasibility of the reconstruction of these two bridges while conducting the basic designing of the project in 2014.
It is anticipated that, the reconstruction of the two bridges will ease travelling and alleviate transportation of people, goods and services and directly improve living standards. Currently the existing Aum Bridge is closed to traffic after being damaged in collision with heavy vehicle, so traffic takes a detour around the bridge. In addition, Kapiura Bridge is subject to traffic controls due to insufficient load bearing capacity. Because there are no alternative roads in the area, the improvement of the conditions on both bridges is an urgent issue for Papua New Guinea and the project thus has a high degree of urgency. This project will surely contribute to promoting traffic efficiency of New Britain Highway.
Moreover, it is expected that Japanese technical know-how will be employed in the reconstruction stage by the Japanese construction companies in terms of ensuring durability including disatster resistance. . As PNG is prone to natural disasters such as flash floods, earthquakes and tidal waves similar to those experienced by Japan, it is assured that disaster risks will reduced to minimum levels.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017 and will definitely play a vital role in PNG's development in future.
Current Aum bridge (right) and its alternate log bridge (left)
Perspective on new Aum bridge
Current Kapiura bridge
Perspective on new Kapiura bridge