03 Oct 11
PNG bridges receive US$90m in funding
The Asian Development Bank has approved US$90m in loan and grant funding to replace up to 30 bridges in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The project focuses on rehabilitation and replacement on national roads and is designed to improve road safety and connect remote rural communities to markets, health and education services.
Between 20 and 30 narrow, modular steel bridges on five priority national roads will be replaced with permanent two-lane bridges. Some of the bridges due for replacement will then be reassembled to provide new crossings on rural roads, boosting access to urban centers.
The bulk of PNG's population lives in rural areas and the island nation's rugged geography means that the road network on the mainland is not fully connected. Lack of transport infrastructure is recognised by the government as a major constraint in PNG's economic and social development.
"The project offers a comprehensive bridge replacement programme with a strong focus on road safety," said Hasan Masood, lead project administration specialist from ADB's Pacific Department. "Reuse of existing steel bridges on rural roads will benefit 400,000 people in rural areas across five provinces."
The project is the first phase of the proposed bridge replacement programme and covers five of the 16 priority national roads identified by the government.