9 November 2012

Liberia: Edina Road Up for Rehabilitation

Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods, II, has revealed that China Henan International Company (CHICO), that is paving the road from Cotton Tree to the Port of Buchanan, has agreed to fully rehabilitate the road in Edina, Grand Bassa County with no cost to government.

Minister Woods made the disclosure to a team of journalists over the week end in Camp Mechlin, Grand Bassa County following a meeting with the management of CHICO during his ongoing inspection tour of road works in the country. Minister Woods later clarified that the Edina road project is not included in the contract signed by CHICO but the company has consented to intervene on the road as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Minister Woods further asserted that the management of CHICO has also agreed to build the capacity of young Liberian engineers by transferring technical knowledge on how data on the amount of rainfall experienced is recorded during a specific period in the year. The Works Ministry boss also used the opportunity to urge CHICO to consider quality and durability while carrying out the construction project. According to him, if CHICO does not perform and live up to expectation, a poor performance stigma will becloud the company's reputation and could definitely hinder the chances of being awarded construction contracts in the future. He expressed optimism that the project will be completed in time by June 5, 2013.

While in Buchanan City, Minister Woods reaffirmed Government's commitment to restore the main motor road leading to the county's capital to its original design. However, he refuted rumors in some quarters that the Government of Liberia through the Public Works Ministry intends to expand the main motor road leading to the capital city to four lanes. He explained further that Buchanan will be treated like a city, thus protecting the shoulders of the road and building sidewalks and drainages where deemed necessary.

In a related development, Minister Woods has promised to accelerate the pace of the resettlement action plan (RAP) to enable the contracting entity, CHICO, extend its activities into Buchanan city in order to adhere to the timeline for the completion of the project. Minister Woods has also admonished residents of Buchanan City to refrain from constructing structures on the right of way. He emphasized that the right of way is reserved for future use either for the installation of sewage pipes or wires by other functionaries of the government.

He later divulged plans to introduce a road fund. According to him, when the road is introduced, funds generated will be utilized to maintain and sustain investments in the infrastructural sector.

Minister Woods and entourage toured several areas including the precasting site in Camp Mechlin, the Mechlin River Bridge, Washing Plant and Port of Buchanan. He later held talks with the Superintendent of Grand Bassa County, Madam Etweda Sugar Cooper.

Earlier, during a presentation by the Site Manager of CHICO, Mr. Song Lei, indicated that unpredictable weather and the resettlement action plan (RAP) as serious obstacles that his company is faced with. He said that heavy rainfall experienced this year stalled the pace of the work. Mr. Lei further disclosed that this year recorded the heaviest amount of rainfall than during the past nine years in Liberia. He also stated that the refusal of residents in Buchanan City to vacate the right of way has also stalled the extension of the company's activities into the county's capital city.

It can be recalled that the first phase of the output performance based road contract (OPRC) covered Cotton Tree to Bokay's Town. The second phase of the road project covered Bokay's Town to the Port of Buchanan. The road length of the second phase is 57 kilometers. The second phase of this road project is divided into two sections. The first section covered Bokay's Town to Lloydsville. The second section covered Hartford to the Port of Buchanan. The stretch of road from Hartford to Benson River has already been paved. The portion of the road from Benson River to Buchanan remains unpaved. According to the contracting entity, 66% of the total work required for the road project has already been completed.

Meanwhile, in another development, immediately upon his return to Monrovia, Minister Woods joined Information Minister, Lewis G. Brown, to assess the National Museum of Liberia. At the museum, Minister Woods announced the conduct of an assessment on the building early next week to determine the financial implications and the scope of work required to refurbish the museum.

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