The NEWS (Monrovia)

11 March 2014

Liberia: Westwood Intensifies Work On Gbarnga-Zorzor Road

Westwood Corporation, a Liberian construction firm rehabilitating the Gbarnga-Zorzor Highway in Central Liberia has intensified work on the 104 kilometer road ahead of the rainy season.

Rehabilitation work on the road was halted in July 2013 due to government indebtedness to the company, but Westwood Corporation has resumed operation on the road.

Bong County Resident Engineer Emulus A. Toliver told reporters Sunday in Lofa County that Westwood was constrained to stop work on the road after it completed 50 percent of the rehabilitation work last July without payment.

Westwood pre-financed the project through the bank and could not continue to increase the credit line without payment from the Ministry of Finance.

Prior to grounding down its equipment, Mr. Toliver explained that the company raised concerns that it needed money to purchase fuel, pay salaries and do repair work on its equipment.

However, he disclosed that government recently made some payment thus resulting to the recommencement of work on the Gbarnga-Zorzor road.

The Bong County Resident Engineer indicated that work on the road has intensified and regained its momentum ahead of this year's raining season.

He noted that during the raining season, UNMIL Bangladeshi Engineering Contingent did intervene on few critical spots that were developing around Gbarnga, following a request from the head of the contingent.

"Even the places that they worked are pretty rough because the military people way of working is not the way normal engineers work," he said in response to a question.

He also disclosed that UNMIL has been asked by his office to do some minor repairs on a bridge that is located 28 km from Gbarnga.

This bridge, according to him, is not part of Westwood's contract with government, noting it was Westwood which noticed that problem was developing with the bridge about four months after the contract was signed.

Westwood Chief Engineer Jonathan Swaray in an interview corroborated that 50 percent of the road linking Gbarnga with Zorzor was completed last year and assured that the remaining portion of the road would be completed in the soonest possible time.

Mr. Swaray disclosed that his firm has mobilized equipment and manpower to rehabilitate the road.

According to our reporter who traveled on the road last weekend, several fleets of road building equipment which belongs to Westwood including motor-graders, dozers compactors, front loaders, dump trucks have been deployed on the road.

Several persons interviewed expressed happiness over the level and quality of work being done by a Liberian road construction firm.

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