The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Autonomous Road Authority Soon

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said working with the Governance Commission, the Government of Liberia(GOL) is making progress to establish an autonomous Road Authority that will manage the country's road assets. The Liberian Leader delivering her Annual Addressed yesterday to the joint session of the National Legislature said a window of opportunity will open to Liberian road construction companies through this action.

She earlier President Sirleaf said discussions are under way which will result in the establishment of a Road Infrastructure Fund through a legislative process that will be submitted to member of the National Legislature.

"This will enable us to generate the funds to support construction and maintenance of roads. Working with the Governance Commission, we are making progress to establish an autonomous Road Authority that will manage our road assets. A window of opportunity will open to Liberian road construction companies through this action," President said.

The President also said the Administration is working to ensure that all of Liberia's primary roads are transformed to fully paved asphalt roads under the program called "Connecting Our County Capitals".

She said in fulfillment of this commitment, the pavement of the Buchanan highway road will be completed this year while the Fish Town to Harper highway was fully rehabilitated with funding support from the African Development Bank will start.

"Given the importance of this road, which was emphasized during a visit of the Bank's President, US$50 million by his institution has been committed toward its pavement. The cost of the pavement is US$105 million. We are working with partners for the feasibility study, to be followed by resource mobilization to start the Ganta to Harper pavement," President Sirleaf told the National Legislature.

The Liberian Leader also said construction has commenced, finally, on the Redlight to Gbarnga highway after settling property matters that have taken a while and by the end of March, the Government of Liberia will have procured the services of a separate contractor to start the pavement of the Gbarnga to Ganta and Guinea border road link, and finally reached agreement with ArcelorMittal for pavement of the Ganta to Yekepa highway - a project that will extend the Liberian side of the West Africa highway that starts from Bo Waterside and ends at the Liberia-Ivorian border town of Loguatuo.

"In the west, we are concluding arrangements with the Western Cluster concession for the pavement or rehabilitation of the Freeport to Tubmanburg roadway and pavement of the Tubmanburg to Mano River road corridor. Rehabilitation of the latter roadway has already been initiated, and full upgrade will commence this year. This action will ensure again unhindered vehicular traffic along this corridor and will bring long-awaited relief to our citizens in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties. Other road networks include the upgrade of the Kakata to Bong Mines and Brewerville to Gbarpolu corridors, " President Sirleaf assured Liberians.

She also disclosed that decisions are under way with the Putu Iron Mines to meet their contractual commitment to construct the highway from Zwedru to Greenville and with financing from the Kuwait Fund, feasibility studies and designs are ongoing to determine the cost of pavement of the Gbarnga to Mandekorma road.

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