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‘Liberia and China Sign US$41 Million Agreement to Construct Overpass Bridges’-My take

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn Liberia
Acting Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins and Chinese Envoy Li Jiang exchanged notes

By John Kpehe Boimah, PE

The speculations that China would construct overpass bridges in two key strategic locations have finally come off the rumor box and into the public discourse where views can be expressed. 

Development is Good News when it is being done to build or add onto existing developments.  I see these projects as counterproductive to the locations where they have been rumored to be constructed:

  1. At the Ministerial Complex at 540
  2. At ELWA Junction

I learned about these projects over a year ago.  I have my thoughts about both.  Any civil structure can be constructed.  But there are two concerns that I have that should be evaluated.

First, what will it cost to construct it. And second, what will be its impact on society? 

I am not analyzing these projects from their constructability and cost aspects.  I am going to discuss some concerns I have about their impacts on our economy.

Let me try to paint a picture of what an OVERPASS BRIDGE is.  Liberia already has an interchange.  It is located after the St. Paul Bridge when you are heading to Brewerville on the Bomi Highway.

It is the exit to Hotel Africa.  I want you to think about the configuration of this interchange in terms of size and land it occupies; its Right of Way (ROW).  Include its on-ramps and off-ramps.  These ramps are used to transition onto the bridge to head to your destination or transition down to the direction where you want to go.

Now imagine constructing something similar at the projected locations.   Do you envision businesses and churches within the proposed structures ROW to be demolished to achieve these projects?   Do you envision layoffs and loss of revenue to our government?  Most importantly, at the bridge site, there are no economic activities. It is dead.  There is no livelihood of business activities. Visit Hotel Africa interchange if I may call it that for the sake of identification.  Do you see any business activities? Is this what you want to see happen at the Ministerial Complex and ELWA Junction?

Of the two locations mentioned above, the most devastation will be at ELWA Junction based on its current economic activities.   The building that houses the LRA will be demolished including the medical facility next to it, those thriving businesses opposite the LRA will go plus those businesses along the road while heading towards GSA Road and those along the road while traveling to SKD Sports Complex.

Liberia needs development but killing businesses, denying yourself taxes, and then plus putting your citizens out of work is no good development. It is a recipe for self-destruction.  Our government needs to revisit this agreement and look at alternatives to address the traffic concerns mentioned by the minister.

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