The Public Works Ministry assisted by the Chinese Contractor Company or CICO has demolished the Overhead Bridge constructed between the main campus of University of Liberia and the Capitol Building in Monrovia.
The former Taylor regime constructed the bridge for the use of students who risk their lives daily to cross the busied street on Capitol Hill leading to central Monrovia, but even before its completion, the project received mounting public criticism, particularly from students of the UL who did not hide their feelings in pointing out that the pathway was too narrow and did not meet basic safety standards.
The Press and Public Affairs Officer at the Public Works Ministry Jesefu M. Keita said government might reconstruct a new overhead bridge at the same vicinity if the need arises. He said the decision to demolish the overhead bridge was based on advice from engineers bordering on the safety of students and pedestrians.
Keita disagreed with critics, who argued that the construction and eventual demolition of the bridge without any public benefit was waste of public funds and resources. Reports put the estimated cost of the construction during the Taylor regime at half million United States Dollars.
“I want to disagree with people who are saying that it is a waste of public funds and resources. And we have to be careful, we have not told people that the over- head bridge was a death trap; all we said was that based on the engineering advice there are safety issues that could not be overlooked,” Keita said.
He however admitted that the overhead bridge could not benefit people with disabilities because of the way it was designed, noting that “Probably the engineers did not take into consideration the aims and objectives that must be achieved as a result of constructing a bridge.” Keita emphasized that public constructions and developmental projects should be carried out for the benefit of everybody.
“First of all, you need to do an assessment to establish whether or not the people actually need that project; and to some extent that was not done. To support the fact, if you were looking at the railing, you will see some spaces that when you are walking you will see under your feet. So somebody having fear for higher areas would not be able to cross over this bridge,” pointed out.
According to him, it would have been better if the engineers had constructed the footing of the bridge within the fences of the UL and the Capitol Building rather than planting them on the sidewalks thus, congesting the already narrow street.
The demolition exercises carried out Thursday July 28, 2011 at about 9: 45 am under the supervision of the Traffic Division of the Liberia National Police.