By MALUM NALU
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI) today expressed concern about the state of roads outside the city, starting from 8-Mile onwards.
Chamber chief executive officer, David Conn, said after an accident at Erima Bridge yesterday which held up traffic for up to an hour.
|Vehicles lined up bumper-to-bumper, at 8-Mile, just outside the city, yesterday evening, both sides of the 8-Mile Bridge, after a CRV and a 25-seater PMV bus collided on the bridge.-Picture by MALUM NALU|
He said this stretch of road had very quickly become the busiest section in the city, with the population from 8-Mile onwards growing expotentially, and a huge area being groomed for housing.
“The NCDC efforts in last few years have been commendable, but already population has caught up with the improvements,” Conn said.
“The whole section now needs urgent upgrade to a four-lane highway to 9-Mile.
“The Erima Bridge is already seriously stressed and is scheduled for replacement this year, but two lanes will be inadequate.
“The press of traffic at Erima now threatens the viability of our domestic and international airport.
“The new road through 5-7 Mile will ease this, but it is hard to see how the rehabilitated Hubert Murray Highway down through the Gordon Ridge settlement will help as it will merely funnel more traffic to the already seriously-congested roundabout at Erima Big Rooster.
“The obvious fix is to take some of the traffic from the west for the north of the city away through new connections: direct 9-Mile to Gerehu and Wildlife to Waigani.
“There are connections of sorts there already but these need to be upgraded so traffic can flow quickly and safely along them.”
Conn said the real fix, which it may be prohibitively expensive, was a flyover starting around Gordon Market right over the two Erima roundabouts as far as the edge of the airport runway past the Funeral Home.
“Through traffic would go straight over the current congested roundabouts leaving the bottom section free for easier airport access,” he said.
“Traffic in and out of the airport could also access this elevated section if they wished and this would have added advantage of giving some redundancy with two ways in and out of Jackson during times of emergency or maintenance.
“Add the long-discussed connection off the airport roundabout over Kookaburra Street to connect to Sir John Guise Drive with an offshoot past the Golf Club to North Morata, and we offer several alternative routes to the North and Waigani city.
“Much of this is doable - except for the Erima elevated section - in the near term and becomes pressing when we consider Pacific Games 2015 and the possibility of access to the Chinese Exim loan funds scheduled to improve infrastructure.
“We are encouraged to see some of this work up for tender by NCDC and we hope to see the work start in 2013.”