Building the first phase of Papua New Guinea’s planned highway project will cost an estimated US$3.07 billion. The route will connect Gulf Province, on the southern coast, with Morobe Province, on the northern coast.
This section of the route should be complete and ready for traffic by the third quarter of 2025, if the current schedule is met. The aim of the whole project is to deliver a highway that connects Momase and the Highlands with Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby.
Much of the funding for the project is being provided by private sources, with the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) having secured the necessary financing arrangements.
The ADB has given the Papua New Guinea Government assistance with developing plans to improve the Highlands Highway. The upgrade work is being carried out over 400km of the route. As the highway links to Lea, Papua New Guinea’s key port, the work is important for the country’s imports and exports.
The lack of a reliable highway connection between Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea’s second city, Lea, has restricted economic growth for the country. The two lane route between the cities is notorious for its potholes and frequently becomes almost impassable during the rainy season. Transport has had to rely on either marine or air travel for the movement of people and goods, which has been costly and inefficient.