Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

13 February 2013

Cameroon: Rehabilitation Work on Yaounde-Bafoussam-Bamenda Road at 35 Percent

Public Works Minister appraised phase one of the 370-km project yesterday February 13.

Rehabilitation works on the Yaounde-Bafoussam-Bamenda road, part of the FCFA 100 billion emergency programme authorised by the Head of State in 2012, is about 35 per cent done, engineers executing and controlling the project have said. According to engineers of Razel Company executing the project and Egis Cameroun controlling it, the first phase of the 370-km project from Yaounde to Ebebda is on course and preparatory works are ongoing on the second and third phases from Ebebda to Bafoussam and Bafoussam to Bamenda.

They made the revelation yesterday February 13 during an appraisal tour of Public Works Minister, Patrice Amba Salla, on the first phase of the project. Minister Amba Salla visited the Razel base in downtown Yaounde, the outfit's material production factory in Nkometou as well as ongoing refection works along Obala, Lekie Division. According to Bertrand Emane Ntyam, Director of the Razel Construction site, 26 km of the 69-km Yaounde-Ebebda stretch is already refurbished. This consists in putting a new coat of bitumen to reinforce the road. He said the Ebebda-Bafoussam stretch will consist in just filling potholes to render the road accident-free, meanwhile what is done on the Yaounde-Ebebda stretch will be done on the Bafoussam-Bamenda phase to begin as soon as the ongoing phase is over. "We have sent a team to carry out execution studies on the Bafoussam-Bamenda stretch for we want to link up with that one as soon as we are through from here," Bertrand Emane Ntyam said.

While the first phase is going on without any worry, the contractors say the pothole filling on the Ebebda-Bafoussam stretch is a cosmetic solution given that the money given for the project (FCFA 27 billion) cannot change the coat of tar from Yaounde to Bamenda. But the road is over 25 years since it was built and needed heavy maintenance. It emerged from the Minister's visit that the FCFA 27 billion allocated for the project represents just a third of what would have been used to effectively execute the project. "The filling of potholes on the Ebebda-Bafoussam stretch is not enough. We should have done the same thing like what we are doing in the first phase," Franciole Renaldo, Control Team Leader of Egis Cameroun said.

"The emergency programme was launched without an in-depth knowledge on the state of degradation of the roads. Reason why we took some time off to carry out studies and prepare the contract files. We are satisfied with what has been done so far. Studies are over and the contracts awarded. Now we can take off work on different sites. We are looking for funds and once we have them, we will rehabilitate the road the way it is supposed to," Minister Amba Salla said. The entire project from Yaounde to Bamenda is supposed to go through in 24 months but Razel officials say they are multiplying field teams to possibly deliver earlier.

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