The potholes on the road to Sogeri are unnecessary. They pose a risk to the travelling public. The road links the PNG Power Rouna stations, Sirinumu Dam, Iarowari High School, Sogeri local level government station, Kokoda Motel and Sogeri Guest House and the Varirata Park. The potholes have made it risky to drive up to there. The trouble is increased with landowners filling the holes in places where there are potholes. Young children, men and women are begging for payments for filling up the potholes with loose soils.
It has been many years since I drove up the Sogeri way. I used to enjoy the trip. Now it is bothersome and irks me to the point of asking why the neglect of roads that provide access to government assets and institutions. The government and business houses are investing a lot of their money in Port Moresby and other rural areas, but seem to ignore the very place that provides power to the city. The government cannot ignore the road and bridges of the Sogeri Road. The government owns the public road. It has a responsibility to maintain good condition and safe standards for its people using the road. The landowners do not own the road.
Many Port Moresby residents take it for granted that everything is good up Sogeri way. The government has its share of trouble with the Koiari landowners over compensation demands on the land where the Sirinum Dam and the Rouna power stations are. The government has met some of the demands but at the expanse of ignoring the roads and bridges that link these important facilities.
In various places along the road we had to stop to pay a fee to the people filling the road with loose soils. We probably paid about K20.00 to everyone on our way up and back down to Port Moresby. It is difficult to drive pass these irritating individuals who are putting the lives of the traveling public at risk. Some sense of policing of the roads would help.
If the landowners have been given so much money why are they still begging along the road in pretext of filling up potholes? It is ridiculous witnessing a situation such as this experience I had on the Sogeri road. If the roads and bridges to Sogeri can undergo immediate maintenance it can save face for everyone linked with the road. Right now I’m not sure if I want to make the trip to Sogeri again after witnessing the problems and risks involve in driving up there.
The bigger picture is that the government has done little to fix the roads in or around its institutions. Some examples such as the roads in and around the Murray Barracks on both sides of the main road linking Hohola and Korobosea, or the roads in Taurama Barracks, and even though roads in the University of Papua New Guinea are still waiting for the NCD Governor’s promised solution.
Our state institutions are only as good as the roads that connect them to the public and those roads that interconnect them within the institutions. These roads are not owned by the users, but by the government who built them in the first place. It is a responsibility of the government to upgrade and maintain these roads so that these institutions are accessible and have a quality that state institutions are meant to have.
So much money is spent every year on maintaining road works around the country, but nothing much of it goes into upgrading roads in or around many of our big state institutions. The most neglected ones are the universities, educational institutions, and barracks all around the country. The result of this neglect has encouraged all kinds of anti-institutional behaviors that are unnecessary.
In some of barracks the roads are so bad it is no longer comfortable to live and work in them. Murray Barrack roads so bad it sends a wrong message to anyone visiting the barracks. The road leading CIS Bomana is tattered to the point of isolating the CIS Bomana in such a way that it is embarrassing to know this is a government institution struggling to maintain a balance between its responsibility as a state institution and dealing with a dirt road leading into the prisons and residential areas.
The barracks as well as the education institutions like Sogeri need the change it deserves. Many years of neglect saw the roads to deteriorate to the point where risks to the public users of these roads are heightened.
All I can think about driving back to Port Moresby from Sogeri was the feeling that one little pothole in a road can become the catalyst for innocent tragedies. It is unfortunate that the Sogeri road is in the state it is in.
I do hope our leaders can drive up to Sogeri to see for themselves the condition of the road and what is happening along the road.
Instead of having a pleasant experience I was irritated that I had to drive with extra care because of the condition of the road and also to avoid beggars positioned in strategic locations of the road pretending to fill the potholes with soil.
I don’t think I want to drive up to Sogeri again after this experience. The potholes must be fixed and the begging must be discouraged before I can think about another journey up to the mountain.
The question anyone should be asking now is how in the world we got ourselves to this place we are in with poor road conditions and beggars asking for money for fixing the roads without being authorized to do so.