Deputy Public Works Minister for Rural Development and Community Services, Hon. Christian G. Herbert, has called on stakeholders to apply standards and set up national norms during the rehabilitation of feeder roads in the country.
Deputy Minister Herbert made the statement on Thursday during a two day feeder road design and specification training workshop held at the Bong Women Center in Gbarnga, Bong County.
He described the workshop as the first of its kind in Liberia, aimed at reviewing and subsequently formulating a document that will be used as a road map during the rehabilitation of feeder roads in the country. He encouraged all stakeholders to utilize the design and specification manual during the execution of construction projects and added that the Ministry of Public Works is committed to ensuring that this policy is upheld.
Minister Herbert also called for sustained efforts to maintain roads rehabilitated in the country. He emphasized the need to preserve investment in the infrastructural sector as according to him, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) is expected to turn over feeder roads rehabilitated to the Government of Liberia in 2014. "It is therefore required of all participants to utilize the knowledge gained to prepare adequately for such herculean challenge and responsibility", Minister Herbert noted.
Minister Herbert disclosed that owing to the importance the Government of Liberia attached to the maintenance component of the infrastructural sector, a road maintenance Civil Engineer, will shortly be hired, to concentrate primarily on maintenance of feeder roads already rehabilitated.
For his part the Team Leader of the Liberian Swedish Feeder Roads Project (LSFRP) Mr. BelalHussain, called on National Government to increase budgetary allotment to the Public Works Ministry. He divulged that in most developing countries, the Ministry of Public Works is prioritized owing to its statutory responsibilities to create access throughout the length and breadth of the country.
He thanked the participants for their interests exhibited informulating a new feeder roads design and specification manual for the infrastructural sector of Liberia. He said when the design and specification manual is finalized and subsequently approved by the Public Works Ministry; copies will be disseminated amongst all stakeholders. He also stated that the manual will be reduced to a pocket size to enable engineers use it on the field.
Mr. Hussain disclosed that the LSFRP has decided to refurbish a training room at the Ministry of Public Works to conduct an AutoCAD training aimed at building the capacity of a select group of Resident Engineers. AutoCAd is a software which determines where, when, and how to rehabilitate a particular road. He said the training room will be equipped with an overhead projector and few computers.
He later emphasized the need to embark on a routine maintenance program to sustain investments in the infrastructural sector. He said "the cost to rehabilitate three kilometers of road can be used to sustain 100 kilometers". Mr. Hussain also said that the routine maintenance program will create employment opportunities for several Liberians.
Several dignitaries including Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services, Hon. Victor B. Smith, Assistant Minister for Operations/Construction, Hon. William L. Slour, and Mr. Thomas B. Kettor, Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Bong County attended the workshop.
Representatives of the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC), Engineering Society of Liberia and 15 Resident Engineers were also in attendance. The two days workshop was organized by the LSFRP. It was held from January 30-31, 2013 at the Bong Women Organization Center in Gbarnga, Bong County.