The governments of Liberia and Japan on Tuesday sealed a crucial agreement which will pave the way for Liberia's first 4-lane highway.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Public Works Minister Samuel Woods acknowledged that a lot of questions of been raised by Liberians regarding the ministry's intervention on the Somalia Drive Reconstruction Project but said the dream is now drawing close to becoming a reality.
Said Woods: "We are beginning a very important intervention in the history of the Republic of Liberia. Since the ascendency of this government the president has emphasized the expansion and accelerated development of our country."
Woods averred that everywhere in the country, there have been resounding calls by citizens for roads with durability that will sustain the post- war nation's ability to make roads accessible for marketers to transport goods and services and for commuters to travel freely.
"After many discussion with JICA and the Japanese government we have reached this point," the minister noted.
Woods said after many travels to Japan, the project is now on course. "We are signing the detail design, the first major part of the Somalia Drive and during the dry season we will now begin to commerce the actual work. We will start from the Freeport to the red light intersection and we will include the construction of a new bridge at the Stockton Creek and the Double bridge."
Woods said the ministry will ensure that all necessary actions are taken with the safety of road users and pedestrians to ensure that the design will be a modern contemporary design, including sidewalk, construction of bus and taxi base, appropriate drainage structure system."
"We will ensure that in keeping with our discussion with the Japanese government, Liberia will embrace a full modern national art."
The Japanese Ambassador to Liberia Naoto Nikai said his government has provided 89 Million Japanese Yen for the detail design reconstruction of the Somalia Drive Road as was requested by the Liberian government two years ago.
The Ambassador mentioned that the signing of the construction portion between the countries will be made in the coming month as Japan is going to host a meeting (TICAD V) in Yokohama in June.
Said Ambassador Nikai: "The actual reconstruction work will start this year."
"As you all know the Somalia Drive Road suffered severe traffic congestion during morning and evening hours. Because it is the main road connecting eastern residential areas to Monrovia."
The Japanese envoy said the project is aimed at mitigating traffic congestion and secure safety thorough widening of the road from Freeport to Red light.
He added that upon the completion of the project, there will be a Four-lane road including the two existing lanes between Freeport and red light.
Ambassador Nikai said the project will be one of the symbolic projects which represent the friendly relations between the two countries and added that the 'Japan-Liberia Friendship Road' and the expansion continue until 2015.