Papua New Guinea
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Kokoda Highway cut off again

Kokoda Highway in Northern Province has been cut off for the second time in two weeks after Kare River burst its banks, causing massive destruction to the highway.

After a heavy torrential rainfall on Monday, the Kare River flooded and barged on to the road, undermining two existing box culverts and washing out 200 metres of road at Peripe village, Ward 7 in Kokoda LLG area.

Kare River in Kokoda LLG of Oro province bursting its banks after a heavy rainfall, cutting off Kokoda Highway on Monday.

This is the second time after Kare River destroy the village, food gardens and the road on September 10, early this month.

Local contractor, EJ Sisters Limited which is working on Australian Government funded Long Term Maintenance Contract under Transport Sector Sector Support Program (TSSP) cleared and fully restored the road last week.

The second flood has devastated garden crops and cash crops such as vanilla, cocoa and oil palm trees in a bigger magnitude.

Currently, traffic is impassible and New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL) hauling trucks carrying harvested oil palm fruits to and from Kokoda NBPO Estate are among public commuters who are stranded at both sides of the road.

According to sources from Department of Works and Highways and EJ Sisters, the damages to the road structure is huge and will require substantial amount of money to repair and restore the road again.

EJ Sisters project manager Peter Pia confirmed that Kare River flooded again after they worked and fixed on the first emergency work that was completed last Friday.

He said EJ Sisters emergency team will be mobilised to the site by today to build access road for traffic while permanent work will be discussed with the DoWH and TSSP Project management team.

“We will closely monitor the behaviour of the river as flooding continues with strong current and debris from the mountains.

Northern Province is prone to natural disasters and EJ Sisters workmen will be on full alert to work on emergency and restore the road,” Mr Pia said.

He said emergency work would take three to four weeks for full restoration.