Mayor Richard makes SOS call
By Lincoln G. Peters
The bridge connecting Clay – Ashland to other townships in Montserrado County has been cut off, impeding the movement of people in the area.
Bad road conditions in addition to the collapse of the bridge make the situation worse for residents of the area. Normal economic activities have slowed and movement of people to neighboring townships in that part of Montserrado County has been impeded.
Some residents broke down in tears early Sunday morning, 10 July 2022 when they heard of the collapse of the only bridge that had connected the Clay – Ashland to Virginia, Arthington, and Millsburg. The incident was attributed to the heavy downpour in recent times.
Residents of Clay-Ashland are currently living in extreme hardship and difficulties as many people are reported to be stranded.
The situation has also posed a serious challenge to people from two sisterly settlements, Arthington, and Millsburg.
The only existing alternative route to get out of Clay-Ashland is through Molton Corner via a place called Kubon Shop.
On average, it’s a 20-minute drive from Clay-Ashland to Iron Gate, using the route of the bridge which has been cut off.
But using alternative routes now will take approximately four times the normal time it took commuters to access the township of Virginia and other places.
The bridge had been lying in ruins and dilapidated state for a long time. In 2020 the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Public Works and the Future Builder construction company reportedly signed an agreement for the construction of the bridge.
Clay-Ashland is considered one of the isolated areas in Electoral District #17, Montserrado County.
School kids are reportedly finding it difficult to commute to and fro their respective school campuses because of the bridge’s collapse.
Marketers have also complained about the difficulties they face with transporting their goods to market. They have indicated that prices of basic commodities including rice and gasoline continue to rise.
A cup of rice is now sold for L$100, while the cost for a gallon of gasoline remains huge.
Most of the residents of Clay-Ashland, especially women, are engaged in agricultural activities to support their families.
They used to transport their produce from Clay-Ashland to Iron Gate, and Virginia for sale.
Mr. Morris G. Richard, City Mayor of Clay-Ashland told this paper via telephone interview Monday, 11 July 2022 that he was dismayed over the incident. According to him, the bridge collapsed Sunday morning due to a heavy downpour.
Mr. Richard revealed that he has organized a committee that is working on constructing a temporary plank bridge to enable people to do their business and for children to go to school.
“My brother, in 2018 we cried on the government to help us construct the bridge after the bridge was in bad condition and later collapsed,” he explained.
“Finally, in 2020 the government agreed, and they contacted Future Builder construction company to build the bridge,” he continued.
He said the company took its material to the area, but it has since allegedly refused to construct the bridge. –Edited by Winston W. Parley