The Liberian Government has commenced the construction of the Roberts International Airport Highway, following months of debate over the ability of East International, the company contracted to execute the contract.
East International headed by a young Liberian Sakona Kelvin Buima’s experience for building such a highway came under heavy criticism when his company name emerged to carry out the road construction work.
Many doubt his experience to execute such a massive project judging by Liberian standard and has called it a hoax.
But speaking to our reporter over the weekend, Mr. Buima, insisted that his company is qualified and has all equipment needed for the construction exercise in the country. He told our reporter that the crushing of rocks, the building of the road level called the Cyber layout, the base and the layout are ongoing.
He said his company has also brought in country some experts to give the road the deserving design and lasting duration.
“We are putting in our all to give the RIA road the kind of look that will represent the country that visitors and Liberians will cherish and admire so dearly,” he said.
The project is titled: “Upgrading to Dual Carriageway — ELWA-Roberts International Airport Highway,” cuts across Paynesville City in Montserrado County to Unification Town, in Margibi County.
The four-lane road, which is expected to be completed and dedicated in 2023, is expected to also reduce accidents and improve the movement of people, goods, and services to and from six of the fifteen counties, namely: Margibi, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, and Maryland.
The RIA road is a project that is long overdue because of the safety hazards presented by its narrowness and darkness. The RIA Highway has been a death-trap since it was built in the 1940’s, during World War Two. In the 70 years of its existence, it has claimed the lives of thousands of unfortunate passengers, both Liberians and foreigners alike.
This project has the total cost of US$94.5 million that is allocated in three major segments. The civil works with the actual construction valued at US$80 million; design and supervision cost valued at US$7 million; and the management and resettlement action plan valued at US$7.5 million. The length of the road is 45 km or 27.8 miles.
The design of the road takes into consideration many factors, including population density, social activities, and the topography, which led the highway into different sections. The new road, when completed, will have a toll location at the Junk River Bridge.”
The road station at Marshall Junction will include several facilities, including parking lot, green area, rest rooms, vehicle service center, gas station, food court, and convenience stores.
The RIA highway is the major and most convenient route available for travel between the international airport and the nation’s capital city, Monrovia. The highway connects the corridor from the southeastern part of the country, which hosts three major seaports and provides access to major cash crops concessions, such as Firestone Natural Rubber Company and the Golden Veroleum Oil Palm Plantation in the Southeast.
The highway currently serves as the most reliable road for the movement of a little over 34% of the total population of the country to the capital, Monrovia where centrally established authority, businesses, and socially improved facilities are located.
The East International General Manager further stated that there was a need for critics of the government to be a little patient with the government to take development to the people.
Also speaking to this paper at the construction site, the supervisor of the project, Mr. Tommy Tang said the construction track and work will be completed as spelled out in the contract agreement.
He explained that one of the dedicated aspects of the project is the construction of the Junk River Bridge located in the middle of the road from Monrovia.
He said that the bridge is about 110 meter, and that the Junk River requires serious dedication and planning. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor