FOUR major bridges in Oro Province funded by the Australian Government are well under construction and should be completed by early next year.
The bridges along the Oro Bay – Kokoda highway have been washed away in 2007 by cyclone Guba that stormed the province by surprise.
Due to lack of coordination and administration, the bridges and other restoration work have been left unattended until 2012 when former Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa was elected as Governor of the Province.
Juffa who visited the construction of the bridges during the week said he was pleased to see the bridge structures taking shape.
He said it took him six months to secure paper work and knock on every door to ensure the bridges were given back to the province.
He thanked the Australian tax payers and the Australian Government for making the funds in access of over K30 million available to ensure his people were able to have accesses to basic services through the bridges.
The bridges include Embogo, Girua, Double Cross and Kumusi which were capable of crippling the province’s economy if they were left unattended, he said. Kumusi Bridge is the longest in the country after Markham.
Canstruct Ltd, the company engaged to build the bridges has already set up the basements of all the bridges and are now in the process of completing the decks.
Juffa said with the assistance from the National Government, the province had seen major developments in the upgrading of the Oro Bay wharf by the PNG Port Corporation, the Girua Airport redevelopment by the National Airport Corporation and the four bridges by the Australian Government.
“These are significant infrastructure developments in Oro where none of such has taken place in the past 40 years. In fact successive governments have ignored the plight of the Oro people and with these major infrastructures, the onus is now on the provincial administration and the people to transform their way of doing things,” he said.
He said while he addresses the administrative and political issues, he urged the local people to change their attitude and start working hard to be on par with other provinces.
After all these impact projects are fully completed, he would settle in the province and address petty administration issues which the provincial administration has carelessly ignored for years, he said.
“While I try to secure funding and address major issues at Waigani, I expect the provincial administration to carry out its duties diligently but this has hardly happened so this time I will sit down in the province and start lecturing to public servants and those responsible for delivering basic service to my people,” he said.
Local villagers along the Oro Bay – Kokoda highway have expressed gratitude at the construction of the bridges which should now allow them to bring their produce swiftly to the markets and also have easy access to other basic services such as health and education, he said.
They also added that basic services would reach the people if selfless leaders were in charge of the province and Governor Juffa was a clear example of a leader who has the hearth to deliver to his people.