The Governments of Japan and Liberia Tuesday signed an agreement that will see the construction of a four-lane highway along Somalia Drive between the Freeport of Monrovia and Paynesville.
H.E. Mr. Naoto Nikai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Liberia, signed on behalf of the Government of Japan and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, while Mr. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuah, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Liberia, penned the deal on behalf of the GOL.
"We're here to extend notes between the two governments, whereby the Government of Japan will provide 89 Million Japanese Yen for the detailed designed for the reconstruction of the Somalia Drive" Ambassador Nikai announced.
"Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know that the current road on the Somalia Drive suffered damage due to increased traffic. Moreover, this road also faces severe traffic congestion, especially during the evening and morning hours, as it is the main road connecting Monrovia and other eastern areas."
"As the economy grows, the situation is becoming worse and commuters, students and the ordinary people are suffering from the situation. Being fully aware of this situation, the objective of this project therefore is to mitigate traffic congestion and ensure traffic safety through widening of the Somalia Drive from the Free Port junction to Red Light" Ambassador Nikai indicated.
The actual project implementation period, he noted, would continue up to 2015, and called for cooperation from the locals with the implementing team, especially property owners along the Somalia Drive road who might be victimized as a result of the new construction work.
"Development comes with pains" he cautioned.
Ambassador Nikai described the signing ceremony as a representation that will continue to enhance Japan-Liberia's relations.
Liberia's Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods for his part lauded the Japanese Government for the grant agreement, nothing that the construction, if carried out as planned, would bring enormous benefits to Liberian people.
"I am very happy that we've signed this agreement Japan today" Minister Woods said. Adding "For too long people have been complaining about bad and traffic congestion while some people have complained that road construction works have been slow coming. We want to say that this is not a quick-fixed exercise. We need to do it properly. We told you before that the government is determined to construct the roads and improve the country. We said it before and now is the time for it to happen"
"Upon completion, there will be two additional lanes, including the already two existing lanes, between Free Port junctions to the Red Light. There will also be repair of the Double Bridge including and construction of a new bridge, as well as modern drainages and sidewalls along the new Somalia Drive."
"When the road is completed, estimate that the traffic hour between Free Port and Red Light will reduce from one hour to twenty minutes. Over 300,000 people are also expected to directly benefit from the road along the Somalia Drove-Red Light corridor, including 1.2 million Monrovia's residents, and this will also improve trade thus enhancing the economy" Minister Woods said.