28 December 2012

Liberia: Minister Warns Against Speed Breakers

Community dwellers are erecting speed breakers in the middle of streets as a means of compelling drivers to lower their speed but Public Works Minister Kofi Woods has a very different interpretation for speed breakers.

He warned communities against building speed breakers because they do damage roads as quickly as possible.

At a press conference recently, he said the Ministry has asked the community service team to work along with community dwellers in providing information as to the sustenance of neighborhood roads.

"We have asked the community service team to go head on to engage the community to consider themselves responsible for what happens on these community roads to assist the ministry", the Minister said.

Minister Woods said what was needed in maintaining the community roads is ownership participation.

With specific reference to the GSA Road, the Public Works Minister said the ministry received information that an individual or group of individuals has erected speed breakers which according to him, is in violation of the laws of the land. "This is wrong and it is against our laws. You cannot as a private person put in speed breakers on the pavement that in the process removing will damage the road", the Minister emphasized.

He added that community dwellers are in the frequent habit of taking away crushed rocks from the road shoulders and even concrete slabs from the drains, all of which that brings damage to the roads.

"We need to work together with the various communities in this direction to save our roads", Minister Woods maintained.

He added that what was needed from the community is the commitment to make available literates of which they have done extremely well.

He used the occasion to call on other communities to include Kebah, New Kru Town, Slipway, Clara Town, Doe Community and other communities that the Ministry of Public Works is well on its way to them.

Commenting on the level of sustained rainfall in recent time, Minister Woods pointed out that since the government through the Ministry of Public Works recognized and acknowledged global climatic change there have been changes in the administration of the budget plan in meeting such a challenge.

"Most of you know that the dry season in the past started in the middle of October but it is no longer the case as the country continues to experience heavy rainfall up to the end of the year. We need to appreciate these challenges", he added.

Minister emphasized that as part of intervention, the government has introduced little changes in the development of its budget plan which will help not only in the maintenance but in improving the road infrastructure, stressing: "we need finances to be able to address these problems".

He pointed out that proper planning structure especially in the financial area will be of help to maintaining the various roads.

Minister Woods maintained that the ministry has been investigating and seeking inquiry on several technological interventions and approaches in maintaining roads in other countries.

He said there are several discussions ongoing with other partners in ensuring that a methodology is developed which of course is seriously being considered for adaptation.

"We need to also look at our ability to study our weather and integrate that in the framework of the plan; our technical division has been looking at different alternatives and approaches to see how we can intervene on our roads and also begin to improve not only our bridges but to improve our methods of the right of the way and even consider creating more drainages", Mr. Kofi Woods said.

Preparing for sustained rain, he indicated that the Caldwell Road for instance, has got improved drainages, along with standard shoulder protection.

The minister maintained that the ministry was trying to improve its standard setting by collaborating with private companies to begin to investigate properly the quality of asphalts to be placed on these roads. He said the thickness and mixture of the asphalt are things being considered very seriously, adding: "When heavy rain falls, there are other qualitative approaches we need to look at."

"There are certain qualitative approaches that we have to adapt as part of our intervention to maintaining the roads in the country," Minister Woods asserted.

Meanwhile, the Sanquin River Bridge now reconstructed as a two-lane road facility which links Rivercess and Sinoe counties is expected to be dedicated by the end of January 2013.

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