Gohikuka Crossing

Integrated Community Training

Sustainability in Ownership

 

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Gohikuka Suspension Bridge Project

Would you help 3000 people cross a river?

Approximately 3000 people from the Minamanalo LLG district must cross the river at Gohikave in order to access the market at 6 Mile and the main road into Goroka. This is quite a challenge, as the regular cries for help attest. A log bridge capable of taking a vehicle was build by local businessmen in 2008. This lasted intact for about 2 years before flash flooding, fuelwood scavenging and rotting of the timbers rendered it impassable to all but foot traffic.

We estimate that over 119 tonnes of market goods are carried over this crossing per year, and that these goods are worth more than K100,000 per year to the local economy. This river crossing affects access to markets for those wishing to sell their produce or buy market goods, access to education for those trying to get to school and access to Goroka for those trying to get to the hospital or government services. It is particularly limiting for the frail and infirm.

lugging 40kg of green Coffee To address this need, Integrated Community Training is seeking to build a suspension bridge across the Gohikuka River at Gohikave.

Out of Sight - Out of Mind

The project is located to the south of the highway at ‘6 Mile’, approximately 6km west of Goroka, Papua New Guinea. This is an area that is too far out of town to be considered part of town planning – and too close to be considered remote. As such, it is ignored by both local government and Aid projects alike. It is also an area facing major population increases as urban sprawl spills east and west out of Goroka.

Simon Gatau and Jimmy Joe live adjacent to the crossing and have formed an unofficial rescue service in response to their concerns about the safety of the crossing. Simon and Jimmy often go out at night to help those who have fallen in or fear doing so. They have lost count of the times they rescued mothers with their ‘bilums’ of sweet potato. More often than not the mothers would lose their bilums to rising floodwaters. The wider community is lobbying strongly for the construction of a bridge, and has gone as far as moving the local produce market away from the main road (and accepting reduced patronage) in order to avoid having to carry produce across the river.

Build a Swing Bridge and Get over it

So, what do we need to do to build a bridge? We need an appropriate site, community support, and an estimated project budget of $50,000

Progress

We conducted initial project scoping and site assessment in early 2013, with Simon and Jimmy helping to record the volumes of people and goods crossing the river.

Simon and Jimmy conducting a crossing point survey

-> Bridges to Prosperity offered us the use of their design manuals and project guides as well as access to their considerable design expertise (2013).

-> Wildcat Man has offered the royalty free use of an innovative cable locking system (2013).

-> Graham Curnick joined the team as our resident Civil Engineer. Graham is now retired and has approximately 50 years experience in civil engineering (2013)

Next Steps

-> We need to commence the formal community consultation process and establish the processes by which community ownership can occur. To do this successfully we need to make several trips and spend several weeks with the local community.

-> We need to establish preferred and alternate crossing points - and then commence the bridge design work.

-> We need to raise $10,000 to commence the consultation and project design phase.