40173-023: Highlands Region Road Improvement Investment Program - Project 1

Project Data Sheet (PDS): Details


The Investment Program focuses on the Highlands core road network (HCRN) of 2,500 kilometers (km) of major national and some provincial roads, which carry the bulk of the traffic in the region. The investment program will include (i) projects to improve about 1,400 km of the HCRN, to be funded through four or more tranches under this multitranch financing facility (MFF); (ii) design and supervision of road improvement works, preparation and administration of long-term road maintenance contracts for the entire 2,500 km of the HCRN, and capacity development of road agencies; and (iii) monitoring the socioeconomic benefits of the improved and maintained roads in the Highlands region. Support will also be provided for policies such as road user charges (to increase the resources available for road maintenance). In addition, technical assistance (TA) will be provided to support the Department of Transport to prepare a new National Transport Development Plan (NTDP) for 2011-2020.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Highlands region is a major contributor to the PNG economy through its agricultural and mineral exports. It is also home to 40% of the country's population, who rely almost exclusively on the road network for movement of people and goods. The road network is vulnerable because of the mountainous terrain, the fragile geological conditions, and the climate. The Government and its development partners have invested significantly in improving the road network, but a lack of regular maintenance has left the network in a poor condition. There is a need to (i) initiate a program of regular maintenance on all HCRN roads that are in good condition, and (ii) improve those HCRN roads that are in a poor condition and ensure that routine maintenance begins on these roads as soon as the improvement works are done. The current NTDP provides a framework of policies and strategies for a sustainable road system in PNG. It has led to the establishment of the National Road Authority (NRA) with responsibility for maintaining the road network and a road fund financed through road user charges to finance road maintenance. The NRA and the road fund are managed by an independent board, with representatives from road users, the private sector, and the Government. There is a need to translate these initiatives into a workable system by (i) strengthening the NRA's capacity to plan and manage road maintenance works, (ii) seeking more financing for the road fund by rationalizing road user charges, and (iii) awarding long-term performance-based road maintenance contracts. With a functioning board and staff recruitment for the NRA underway, the Government is keen to support the MFF. It will help to enable implementation of the NTDP and to ensure a sustainable road system in the Highlands region. This initiative could serve as model for other regions of PNG.


The proposed Investment Program will establish a sustainable road system in the Highlands region that will enable maximum use of its natural, mineral, and human resources. It will contribute to the Government's MTDS, 2005-2010 objectives of (i) export-driven economic growth; (ii) rural development, and poverty reduction; (iii) good governance; and (iv) promotion of sustainable agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism.

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

Improved accesibility and reduced transport cost in the Highlands region.

Progress Towards Outcome

The EA is supported by the consultants and continues to implement improvements to 115kms of road length. Road improvement works are expected to be completed in early 2015 and transfered over the National Road Authority who will implement the maintenance works. The EA and PNRM are working together to engage the National Road Safety Council to undertake road safety awareness including surveys and analysis of accident data. Award expected in Q4 2014.

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

1. Improved core road network in Highlands region. 2. Sustainable maintenance arrangements for core road network. 3. Improved capacity of NRA to plan and manage long-term road maintenance contracts. 4. More efficient DOW organization to deliver road improvements. 5. A new National Transport Development Plan for 2011 to 2020

Status of Operation/Construction or Implementation Progress

Two contract with total road length of 115kms (Laiagam-Porgera and Mendi-Kandep) signed on 09 February 2012 and under construction. Yet to start. To be assessed after road improvements. Yes. Approx. 4.6% of HCRN awarded and commenced implementation in Y2012. NTDP (2011-2020) Approved and launched in July 2013.

Safeguard Categories

Environment: B
Involuntary Resettlement: B
Indigenous Peoples: B

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspect
Climate change may lead to higher rainfall, so roadside drainage will need to be carefully designed. Low traffic volumes mean that vehicle emissions will be minimal. All five roads under Project 1 include improvements within the existing road corridor. No road sections are located in or pass through any protected areas or ecologically sensitve environment. The environmental impacts of road during construction and operation have been assessed, and can be mitigated to acceptable levels

Involuntary Resettlement
A resettlement framework has been reviewed by the PNG Government to establish the policies and procedures for payment of compensation or lost or damaged assets. The land acquisition impacts, where they occur, will be minor. There will be no displacement of housing and the affected people will experience only small losses of crops, trees, fences or other secondary structures. Short resettlement plans have been prepared for Project 1 roads and these will be updated based on detailed engneering designs during loan implementation.

Indigenous Peoples
The resettlement framework and plans will address specific actions favorable to indigenous peoples, if necessary, in dealing with the customary land acquisition.

Stakeholder Participation and Consultation

During Project Design
An extensive program of consultation has taken place. At the inception stage, a stakeholder analysis was carried out to identify the primary and secondary stakeholders; their interests in the proposed project, their perceptions of current problems related to road accessibility, mobility and transport services; and, the resources they could bring to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the project. Meetings have been held at the national level with DOW, Ministry of Transport (MOT), NRA, Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM), Department of Land and Physical Planning (DLPP), Department of Community Development (DCD), National Aids Council (NAC) and National Council of Women (NCW); relevant development partners and international organizations such as Australian Aid for International Development (AusAID), UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, Population Services International (PSI), CAREAustralia); and consultants engaged in ADB, AusAID and other donor-funded projects relevant to the Program. Provincial and district authorities in Enga and Southern Highlands provinces have been actively consulted including provincial and district administrators; national and provincial works departments; provincial community development, health and education advisors; provincial AIDS Councils; and, provincial and district women's networks. Other regional stakeholders that have been met with include civil work contractors, trucking companies and representatives of major development enclaves in the Highlands region, e.g., Porgera JV and Oil Search. These provincial, district and regional stakeholders participated in consultation workshops held in the provinces along with other local stakeholders including representatives of the community sector (local NGOs, health institutions, radio stations, etc.) and the private sector (local business houses, bus/truck drivers, etc.). Along each road section, the views of the local population have been sought through surveys of households, market sellers, trade store owners, road users and vehicle operators, as well a program of community consultations and focus groups with village women.

During Project Implementation
The government through the Dept of Works is coordinating and working closely with other key depts and lined agencies for a smooth implementation of the Project subprojects. The provincial authoirites (provincial governments and administrations) in the Project affected provinces, together with important provincial stakeholders are part of the project steering committee (PSC). The PSC meets every quarter to address and resolve issues related to the Project. The HRMG comprising staff of the DoW and consultants supervise and communicate directly with the contractor and roadside communities to maintain subprojects implementation progress.

Status of Covenants

Category Rating
Loan 2496
Sector Satisfactory
Social Satisfactory
Financial Satisfactory
Others Satisfactory
Safe Satisfactory
Project Financial Statements
Loan 2497
Sector Satisfactory
Social Satisfactory
Financial Satisfactory
Others Satisfactory
Safe Satisfactory
Project Financial Statements


Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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