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Underlying truth: an insight into the roads of Lae


A typically potholder Lae roadLAE IS LOCATED WITHIN THE HEART of Papua New Guinea. An important city, it is seen as the industrial hub of our nation accounting for much commercial activity.

Many thousands of people flock into the various streets and roads that interlace the city along with large numbers of vehicles, including overloaded PMVs powering along the roads.

In addition to traffic the weather here contributes highly to the decay of our roads.

The development of the roads in Lae is a topic of interest, not just in the sense of those roads you see with potholes but more broadly, incorporating the various adverse effects that the under development of Lae’s roads has brought, such as traffic congestion and unauthorized pedestrian behaviour.

To begin, it is essential to have at least some background knowledge of the history of our roads. Lae originated as the Lehe Mission Settlement and was basically developed around an airport (which is now out of order) that was built in 1928.

From this point onwards, the various routes around the city have been progressively developed. Undeniably and embarrassingly, the development of not only our roads, but our infrastructural organization as a whole has been going backwards ever since the dawn of independence.

I have seen nothing more than the reverse effects of development. Nowadays just the simple repair of a street is seen as a project rather than plain old maintenance.

Many cities would be busy worrying about introducing locomotives or skyscrapers or perhaps even projects based around tourism but Lae is busy expending all its blood, sweat and tears on the very roads, which should be basically maintenance and not year-long burdens.

The decayed sections of our roads, which are the majority, are nothing more than a burden to the flow of people in and around the city. At peak hours main intersections are clogged with cars flying in each and every direction with the objective of nothing more than horning their way through the crowds.

Transportation around this industrially active city is crucial if it is to succeed into the near future.

The dictionary states that a road is the main channel way for automobiles. The people of Lae City haven’t quite gotten the message. Also to blame is their approach to road development.

Improper signage and an inadequate amount of road markings make the road a disorganised freeway for both cars and pedestrians, which is something no country or city should encourage. It would also help if the mentality of Papua New Guineans was steered into the correct direction to make wise decisions.

On most days, due to the lacking of ‘foundational road works’, dust is an uncontrollable form of disturbance to most households and residence, not to mention its hazardous effects put upon the health of our citizens.

A prime example of this affect would have to be around Angau Hospital. Cars fly straight past the hospital creating tremendous wafts of dust particles veering into the wards. Are we trying to cure patients or choke them to death? Just an outside-of-the-box thought.

So who is to blame for this under development? In analysing the roads there is no other person to blame other than the people who govern our province, the Government.

We have all heard about Lae’s potholes streaming through our media in one way or another. People have even started printing “Lae City; Pothole Capital” on merchandise and circulating them.

A province should be notable for their flora & fauna or perhaps even their yearly cultural festivals. Not for something which signifies their incompetence to develop and drive our nation forward.

Being renowned as the second largest city of Papua New Guinea, Lae should work harder to maintain that title for the benefit of the citizens. I have noticed Lae is currently improving, though at an unsatisfactory rate.

I think Lae as a city should dig deeper and really clean up its act.  The simple construction of a reliable road system is a step closer towards a better future.


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