Hundreds of thousands of residents in Garndersville, a Monrovia suburb, including businesses along the Somalia Drive are breathing relief in the wake of the nearly completion of phase one of rehabilitation works on the route from Freeport to Redlight under the auspices of the Government of Japan.
The project, negotiated with the Japanese government by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the reported cost of US$100 million is being implemented thru the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA.
Somalia Drive does not only provide access to residents in the suburb of the capital, but is a major commercial route that connects the Freeport of Monrovia to the main commercial district of Paynesville, which provides the trade route to the rest of Liberia.
Phase one of the project includes expansion of the current two-lane to four lanes, involving construction of two completely new lanes along with the current ones, stretching 13.2 Kilometers besides expansion of the Stockton Creek Bridge and repair of the Double Bridge adjacent Stephen Tolbert Estate.
Well paved road is a key infrastructure that drives economic activities and boosts local trade, while increasing access. As a result of phase one of the project, commercial drivers, including bike and Baja riders have increased in plying the route.
Not only that, they now spend less time than previously in moving from one point to another. In other words, potholes and cracks that impeded smooth drive are being gradually addressed.
What makes Somalia Drive different from all other ongoing road projects across the country is that the Japanese themselves are executing the project, removing red tapes and bureaucratic bottlenecks that usually affect quality service. Liberians are surely going to appreciate, as they are beginning to express now, the impact of quality roads.
Though the project is just ending its first phase, we hail the Government and people of Japan for this great support to Liberia that has revolutionized road quality and connectivity in the country. For the very first time in the nation’s history, we are benefiting a four-lane drive that is separated by solid concrete to reduce onward collision in the traffic and other vehicular accidents.
With the ongoing pavement of the Somalia Drive, population is expected to increase in the entire Gardnersville, as access is being made easier than before. Besides, students and workers would get to their respective destinations in time, while marketers and traders transporting goods and local produce would do so with less stress, usually associated with traffic congestion.
As the saying goes, one good turn deserves another. The Japanese would leave an indelible imprint here after the project shall have been completed that should open other avenues for more bilateral cooperation between both governments and peoples not only for mutuality, but south, south cooperation.