Good news on the bridge. GREAT news, actually. :-D It’s built, installed, and drive-able (well, sort of: see below for more details).
Shortly after the bridge collapsed (see Photo Journal: Bridge Collapse!! for more details) on August 6, local Papua New Guineans constructed some temporary “toll” bridges out of bush materials. It cost 1 kina (about $0.40) to cross these bridges.
Here’s a floating one made from bamboo:
And one made of logs/wood:
Can you see the hanging one WITHOUT RAILINGS in the background?!?! Don’t know how much that one was used…
Unfortunately, these walking bridges washed away during a big rain about 2 weeks after the bridge collapsed.
While the bridge was being repaired, our organization created a gondola of sorts to transport essential goods across the river. They called it the “flying fox”, which is Tok Pisin for “fruit bat”. Click here or on the image below to see a video of it in action:
The new bridge was built on the Kainantu town side of the river and pushed across as they added length to it:
Once it was all the way across, they added panels so people could walk across it:
Eventually, it was ready for vehicles. Christina got this picture from the air during a recent flight:
From “way up here”, it looks like such a tiny thing and yet without it, getting supplies into Ukarumpa is extremely difficult! They actually flew almost 1 ton (that’s about 2000 pounds) of ground beef in from a nearby airstrip, but doing that for everything… it could really add up!
From last reports, the bridge is drive-able, but you basically need a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance to drive up the embankment on the other side. They were also still working on getting the permanent footings/abutments for the bridge built. Until then, only smaller passenger vehicles like cars and trucks can drive over it. Semi trucks and other large vehicles will not be able to drive on the bridge until it is permanently in place.
Please continue to pray that construction would finish in a timely fashion. This bridge is essentially the only road for supplies into Ukarumpa, so we will be ever-so-grateful to have a reliable bridge that doesn’t threaten to collapse every time we drive across it.