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Papua New Guinea: Improving road access

April 4, 2013


New Bridge built next to the old one

Photo: Raymond Palangat/World Bank

Under the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project (2002-2011), over 1,300 km of Papua New Guinea’s national roads were maintained and restored. Along with other road maintenance and rehabilitation work of national and provincial roads and bridges, these upgrades have improved access to markets and suppliers. Households have experienced better access to education and health facilities.


Over recent years, Papua New Guinea (PNG) experienced a severe decline in the condition of its roads and bridges. Without working roads, women may have to walk miles to a hospital after delivering their babies; children face long travel times in order to get to school—and are often completely cut off when it rains—while security risks are increased for women and girls. The supply and maintenance of roads and related infrastructure in the country is complicated due to the rugged, mountainous landscape, a widely dispersed population, and unconnected road networks.

The Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project (RMRP) strove to promote an efficient, safe, and reliable roads transport system in the participating provinces of Central, East New Britain, Manus, Morobe, Oro, Gulf, Western Province and West New Britain. An improved road system would enable children to reach school, decrease travel time to reach essential services—meaning better and more timely access to treatment—and connect local communities.
From 2002 to 2011, the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project supported:

  • Road maintenance and the rehabilitation of national roads
  • Routine maintenance of provincial roads
  • Bridge maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of priority bridges on national roads.


As of August 2011, the project had worked in eight of the country’s 20 provinces to:

  • Maintain and restore over 1,300 km of the country’s national roads
  • Help maintain over 30 km and restored more than 160 km of critical provincial roads
  • Strengthen capacity for 79 small- and medium-sized contractors and provincial administrations for road maintenance
  • Rehabilitate or replace 49 bridges.

A feature produced by the EMTV station in Papua New Guinea travelling along the 67km Kerema-Malalaua road which is being rehabilitated under the World Bank Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project.

World Bank Group

Bank Group Contribution

Total project cost is estimated at US$55.4 million with US$18.1 million financed from counterpart funds.

Support from IBRD in the equivalent of US$40 million began in August 12, 2002. About US$25 million was financed from counterpart funds and about US$5 million from six participating provinces.

IDA Credit
Financing from an IDA credit for SDR 24.9M (US$37.3 million equivalent) was approved in 2007, adding the Gulf and Western Provinces to the current six recipient provinces.


The project was implemented by the Ministry of Works and Transport. The RMRP was designed to cover maintenance and rehabilitation of roads and bridges, both national and provincial, in Central, East New Britain, Manus, Morobe, Oro and West New Britain Provinces. The rehabilitation of roads in other provinces is supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Asian Development Bank. The PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd also provided funds for the government’s contribution towards the project.

" I’m happy with the road because it was hard to go to the market and my husband used to walk to town, even when it’s raining or in the middle of the night just to take us to the clinic. "




Passengers on a Public Motor Vehicle using the new road

Photo: Raymond Palangat/World Bank

Moving Forward

Building on the success of the RMRP, a follow-on project, the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project II was approved in May 2011. This project will continue to support the rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance of high priority national roads and bridges in the country, and help improve access to vital public services, such as healthcare and education, in some of the most remote parts of the country.


The RMRP has improved villagers’ access to markets, employment opportunities and basic services, like education and health, and improved income levels through better access to outside markets to sell their produce.

Mona, mother of five, says the new road has helped her and helped the family sell produce at the market and make more money.
“I’m happy with the road because it was hard to go to the market and my husband used to walk to town, even when it’s raining or in the middle of the night just to take us to the clinic.”


1,300 km
of Papua New Guinea’s national roads were maintained and restored between 2002-2011.