Despite multiple dedication and ground breaking ceremonies being performed by President George Manneh Weah while on his six-county tour, the single most priority project of his government’s development program, road connectivity, still remains a dominant activity on the trip. The President continues to dedicate roads completed under the stewardship as the Chief Executive of Liberia and to initiate many more to connect towns and villages. As The Analyst reports, there is so much good news in the offing regarding road pavement projects; courtesy of the Acting Minister of Public Works who provided details of the magnitude of road works being undertaken by the Government of Liberia.
President George M. Weah, in continuation of his six county tour, on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 dedicated two major roads in the Southeastern corridor of the country.
The 50 kilometers Harper road which runs from Karloken and the 16 kilometers Harper Junction – Cavalla Customs Roads respectively were dedicated by the President.
The Harper-Karloken pavement connects Harper City in Maryland County to Karkolen City in River Gee County, while the Harper Junction-Cavalla Custom stretches from the intersection of Harper to the Ivorian border.
According to Acting Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins, these major projects will improve roads connectivity, thereby reducing travel time, cost reduction for vehicle operation and maintenance, socio-economic development, amongst others.
Acting Public Works Minister noted that on September 5, 2013, the Government of Liberia signed the Protocol and Loan Agreement with the African Development Bank Group to prioritize the Fish Town Harper Road Project Phase I, as well as the Maintenance of the Existing Laterite Road from Karloken to Fish Town (80km)] in order to improve major road corridors within the Southeast. She added that the Project is part of the 510km road linking Ganta to Harper as part of the Trans West African Highway (Lagos – Nouakchott).
The Acting Minister further said that The Civil Works Supervision was implemented by the Work Consultant (Comptran Engineering and Planning in association with NIRAS) Ghana-Demark, and actual construction works carried out by the Contractor (China Railway No.5 Engineering Group Ltd. Co.) China while the day to day management of the project was implemented by the Ministry of Public Works through the Project Implementation Unit with aid from other government line ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and EPA.
The project corridors (50km & 16km) according to the hardworking female cabinet minister will take three years of construction and one year defects monitoring, and it comprises the three components which include a two lane 3.65m with 2.0m shoulder on both sides in the rural section, another 2 lane 3.65m with 2.0 walkway on both sides in urban sections.
She further narrated that three newly constructed concrete bridges and one rehabilitated concrete bridge, 8 culverts, among others, were done. She put the total cost of the civil works component at USD$55.4 which was expended on constructions of the Youkudi Clinic, One Public Market, Pleebo Lorry Park, improvement of the Pleebo City Hall Drive City Hall Driveway, etc.
She said besides providing the physical infrastructure to that part of Liberia the project also comprised of Capacity Building Activities which include Master Degree programs where four employees from the Ministry of Public Works returned with degrees in Geotechnical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Transport Economics and Structural Engineering.
She also stated that 4 young graduates from the Tubman University Engineering Department were trained by the consultant and 12 employees/project staff benefited from short term professional training in various disciplines.
Giving further breakdown of the entire project, Mrs. Ruth – Coker Collins who assumed in the acting capacity as Minister upon the death of former Public Works Minister Mobutu Nyepan, said A total of $64.56 million united states dollars was allocated for the project and sourced from the below financing arrangements:
African Development Fund (22.23 Million UA Loan); Nigerian Trust Fund (6.5 Million UA Loan); Fragile State Facility (13.31 Million UA Grant) and Government of Liberia (1 Million UA Counter Part Funding/Compensation for Project Affected Persons)
As a rewarding benefit to the local economy and the country at large, the Public Works boss said the completion of the road has also improved internal and cross-border trade in Ivory Coast, especially the export of palm and rubber by the Maryland Oil Palm Planation (MOPP), Cavalla Rubber Corporation (CRC) among others as well as providing jobs for about 300 local people by contractors that handled the work.
“We are excited and pleased that the completion of the Fish Town Harper Road Phase I is contributing greatly to the growth and development within the region”, said the Acting Minister.
Mrs. Coker-Collins who at the onset of her speech asked for the observance of a minute silence to remember her fallen boss the late Mobutu Nyepan, also used the occasion to thank the Government of Liberia through the President Mr. George Manneh Weah the African Development Bank for her immense support to the country especially in the road sector and other development partners for the successful completion of the project.
With nothing much said as he cut the ribbon to one of the road projects, President Weah lauded the Ministry of Public Works for its supervisory role played during the course of the projects.
He re-emphasized that the construction of roads will lead to economic growth and development with the southeastern corridor being no exception.