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GeneralLiberia news

Progress on roads

By Jonathan Browne

President George Weah has reported considerable gains made by his government in the road and transport sector of Liberia in 2022 that is the heartbeat of his administration.

Delivering his sixth and final Annual Message to the sixth sitting of the 54th Legislature on Monday, 30 January, President with support of partners, his government made significant gains in the pavement of primary roads across the country, and that to date, a total of 45 kms have been paved on the Gbarnga – Salayea corridor, 20 kms paved on the Ganta-Saclepea road, including 31 kms of the Sanniquellie-Loguatuo road corridor that connects Liberiaand neighboring Ivory Coast.

“I am also pleased to inform you that we have paved 30 km of the Ganta to Yekepa road corridor, and continue to make progress on the Robertsport to Medina Road and the RIA road corridor; both of which are funded exclusively by the Government of Liberia.  All of these road works are still ongoing”, the President says.

The Sixth Annual Message, which is a constitutional duty, is the final as President Weah seeks re-election in October to serve another six-year term. 

He adds that besides gains made on primary road construction projects, a 40 kms Tappitta-Toe’s Town road construction project is ongoing, while government has commenced payment of project-affected persons along this corridor to facilitate early commencement of works when the project is contracted and signed in the first quarter of this year. 

Mr. Weah announced road connectivity as his government’s key focus, immediately after taking office in 2018, including a coaster highway that seems very capital intensive and unachievable in his first trem.

However, he reports that in 2022, government engaged the World Bank to secure financing for roads that will alleviate problems faced by commuters, adding

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“I am pleased to inform you that talks with our partners were very fruitful, and we have now secured the full financing required to connect the remaining 75km between Toe’s Town and Zwedru City as well as the 10km road corridor between Toe’s Town and the Ivorian border.”

President Weah says in addition to these achievements in the sector, consultant for the design and studies of 110 km road corridor between Flewokan to Zwedru, Grand gedeh county has been procured through funding by the African Development Bank, adding “I am also pleased to inform you, Mr. Speaker, that this is the last remaining road section between Zwedru and Fish Town, for which my Administration has already secured the financing.”          

He notes difficulties faced by road users that travel along this particular road corridor, a situation he observes, also causes major impediments to the economic development of Liberians, as the route is a major trade corridor to a large part of the country and the rest of the region, adding that completion of this road will be a game changer in the travel dynamics of Liberia.

The President says giving these major commitments secured and processes ongoing for the preparation of documents leading to the procurement of consultants and contractors, he is optimistic that the nation is on a positive path to making smooth travel from Ganta to Harper on asphalt paved road a reality.

He says currently, construction of 20 kms road section between Fish Town to Flewokan  is currently ongoing, while reporting funding commitment  from  partners in the Middle East, including the Saudi Fund for Development, Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, BADEA, and OPEC Fund for International Development for the construction of the Salayea to Konia road corridor.

President Weah: “When we commenced our leadership, the total paved roads in our national road network was only 745 km throughout the entire country, representing less than 5% percent of the network. Today, we have increased this number to 1,375 km, with an additional 436 km paved in the primary roads category alone.”

However, he underscores that it is important that maintenance on the primary road corridors is continued, to ensure accessibility of throughout the country, even during major setbacks like the rainy season.

According to the President, while new road construction is a priority,his Administration has also committed resources for the maintenance of already existing road assets throughout the country.

Mr. Weah details that maintenance works are ongoing on approximately 500 km of unpaved primary roads, including the 38 km Greenville to Wiah Town road in Sinoe; the 118 km Greenville to Boah Geekan in Sinoe & Grand Kru; the 115 km Pleebo to Boah Geeken road in Sinoe and Grand Kru; the 130 km Ziah Town to Zwedru – Putuken road in Grand Gedeh, the 72 km Brewerville to Compansu road in Bomi; and the 68 km Konia to Voinjama road in Lofa County.

The President says maintenance works are also ongoing along the St. Paul Bridge to Tubmanburg highway and the Harper to Karloken road.

“Upon my ascendency to the Presidency in 2018, one of my Administration’s immediate action in the road sector was to operationalize the National Road Fund office of Liberia. Today, this action has derived immense benefits for the road sector and has enabled the effective delivery of our roads program for our beloved country.

I am proud to reveal that, since my incumbency, a total of 198 km of community roads in 7 counties have been completed, with over 75 km ongoing.”

He says through the contribution of Liberians who pay their fuel levies from every gallon of gasoline or fuel oil they purchase, government continues to expand this program in maintaining existing network and construction of new community roads, noting that construction of  5.4 km road from Johnsonville to Mount Barclay is ongoing and will be completed by June, ahead of elections, while 12km Johnsonville Turning Point to Mount Coffee road is also ongoing, along with the 4.2 km Soul Clinic Road, the 2.1 km Peace Island to 540 Community Road, the 0.6 km Fanti Town Road, and the 2.3 km New Georgia to Gulf road. 

Besides, he reports that government has also commenced some new projects, including 1.5 km River View Road to Hotel Africa road;  the Kissi Camp to GSA Road which is about 300 meters, the layout and ongoing pavement of 8.7 km of the Kakata City streets, and reforecasting of construction of the 3.2 km Bali Island access road.

At the same time President Weah reveals that government has also broken grounds for the 6.5 km Freeport to St. Paul Bridge road, which constitutes a continuation of the grant received from the Government of Japan.

“As we focus on our roads program, we continue to see the significant adverse impact of climate change on our communities and people. We recognize the need to address important livelihood issues as we expand our developmental efforts throughout the country”, Mr. Weah laments.

 He says government has signed a 10 million Euros grant for the funding of the Monrovia Integrated Development Project, provided by the Government of France through its French Development Agency, noting that this amount is to be used to improve the livelihoods of three (3) communities in Monrovia, through the provision of climate-resilience facilities such as roads, drainages, community halls, recreational facilities, among others.

He reports an additional funding of US$40 million provided by the World Bank, through the Liberia Urban Resilience Project, to promote climate-resilient infrastructure in the rest of Monrovia by the construction of new drainage networks, that plans and designs are already being prepared for the commencement of works in this year, while efforts are being made to extend similar activities to three additional cities namely, Gbarnga, Buchanan and Ganta.

The government is reconstructing the main highway leading to the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County.

“My Administration is fully aware of ongoing activities on the Roberts’s International Airport Road, and we are working closely with all stakeholders to deliver this project for our people. The success of this project will benefit all Liberians, and will positively impact the safety of all commuters using this highway. I remain focused on its delivery, and wish to assure all Liberians that this project will be a success”, the President pledges.

Lack of roads remain a serious challenge in Liberian since independence in 1847.   Difficulties in traveling across the country, has effectively disconnected some parts of the country from the rest.

President Weah zest to change this picture is unarguably welcomed by all citizens irrespective of political divide, as access to roads is crucial to boosting economic activities.  

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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