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Old 16-10-2003, 12:54 PM
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New Bridge Boosts Market Access on Bougainville

by Veronica Hatutasi

ACCESS to direct market outlets in Bougainville has been further enhanced by the opening of the Sigabai Bridge in Buin, South Bougainville this week.

An AusAID funded project was completed through a cooperative arrangement between the technical services staff of the Bougainville provincial arrangement between the technical services staff of the Bougainville provincial government, local community groups and the managing contractor, Barclay Mowlem-QCPP Joint Venture.

The opening of the bridge means that people from Buin, Siwai, Torokina and Bana areas in South Bougainville can now take their produce to Kangu beach to be shipped directly to outside markets instead of having to pay huge costs of transporting their goods all the way to either Kieta in Central Bougainville and Kokopau in Buka.

Women at the main market in Buka town
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Old 16-10-2003, 06:10 PM
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At the official opening of the bridges last week, Acting head of AusAID in PNG, Jane Lake, said that the completion of the Sigabai bridge project is a major boost for the people of Bougainville, as people can now reach Kangu Beach easily, allowing them to ship their produce directly to outside markets instead of having to be transported long distances by road to Arawa or Buka.

Mrs Lake said the completing the bridge was relatively small amount of money spend on restoring vital infrastructure can have a very positive impact on people’s lives and on economic development.

Ms Lake said that all AusAID funded roads and bridgeworks on Bougainville are undertaken by local sub-contractors and communities.

“AusAID has focused on training and increasing the capacity of local companies to provide the right skills to allow them to maintain roads and to also manage their businesses which is in line with AusAID’s policy of involving PNG companies where possible,” she said.

The typical scene of the Buka beach where the main Buka market is located
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Old 16-10-2003, 06:13 PM
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She said that the project has been extended this financial year to include rehabilitation and maintenance of trunk roads in the northwest Bougainville and also on Buka Island.

Nearly 480 km of the main trunk road will be maintained under the project, as well as a number of bridges and manor culverts will be replaced.

She added that while there is a need to use sub-contractors plant and equipment for large scale rehabilitation and maintenance works, the Bougainville community will benefit directly from community-based programs which enables participation at all levels of the local community.

In addition to maintaining the coastal trunk roads in Bougainville and Buka, AusAID is providing K20 million to enable construction of the Buka and Kangu wharves to improve Bougainville’s access to shipping services.

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Gardeners, fisherman and even hunters arriving at Buka beach with their produce to sell
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