New bridge brings Christmas cheer to Bougainville villagers

Jan 8, 2024 | Blog, News

Residents of Dios village in Papua New Guinea’s Autonomous Region of Bougainville celebrated an early Christmas present – the inauguration of a new bridge that promises improved connectivity and access to essential services for the community.

Situated in the Tinputz District along the Kokopau to Itakara road, some 50 km from Kokopau, Dios village plays a pivotal role in linking the Central, Northern, and Southern regions of Bougainville. This trunk road serves as a lifeline for villages, communities, and vital livelihood supply chains, particularly for the people of Tinputz.

The Dios bridge being inaugurated ahead of Christmas. Photo: Australian High Commission in PNG.

Local residents gathered alongside officials from the Department of Technical Services (DTS) of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Department of Works and Highways (DoWH) for the official inauguration of the Dios bridge.

The construction of the new bridge, which commenced earlier this year, was a necessity to replace the aging and unserviceable previous structure. With a cost of K2.5 million, the project was made possible through the Bougainville Roads Program, funded by the Australian government via the PNG-Australia Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP), in collaboration with DTS and local contractors.

This vital infrastructure development not only ensures improved connectivity for the people of Tinputz District but also facilitates more reliable access to goods and services. The enhanced loading capacity of the new bridge allows vehicles carrying cargo to pass safely, contributing to the overall economic and social development of the region.

Australia’s commitment to Bougainville extends beyond this bridge project, as the nation invests over K21 million annually for the maintenance of roads and bridges across the region. This funding encompasses routine repair and upkeep of the trunk road from Kokopau to Arawa, crucial for sustaining connectivity along the key economic corridor between north and south Bougainville.

In addition to the bridge, Australia is actively supporting other transport infrastructure projects in the region, including safety and security upgrades for Buka wharf and aviation navigation procedures for Buka and Aropa airports. These initiatives collectively underscore Australia’s commitment to fostering sustainable development and connectivity in Bougainville.

Bougainville is a captivating and culturally rich island known for its lush landscapes and vibrant communities. The island of Bougainville is characterised by dense rainforests, pristine beaches, and stunning coral reefs. The region, named after the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, is culturally diverse, with a unique blend of Melanesian traditions and influences.

Bougainville is renowned for its significant role in the history of Papua New Guinea, particularly due to the Bougainville Civil War, which ultimately led to its autonomous status. The island’s residents, proud of their distinct identity, engage in traditional practices, artistic expressions, and vibrant festivals that showcase the resilience and spirit of Bougainvillean culture. The recent developments in infrastructure, such as the newly opened Dios bridge, reflect ongoing efforts to enhance connectivity and foster economic and social progress in this enchanting region.