14 March 2014

Liberia: Over $16 Million Zulu Duma Bridge Threatened Again

The Zulu Duma Bridge, which cost is put at US$ 16,758,894.00, is being threatened again, as sand mining remains unabated around the bridge.

The Zulu Duma Bridge, completed on December 30, 2011, is a100-year lifespan-bridge that links Central Monrovia and Bushrod Island

It was constructed by Chongqing International Construction Company (CICO). The World Bank provided the over US$16M that was used for the construction of the bridge.

But the 100-year-lifespan of the Bridge may not be a reality because of the continued sand mining taking place around the bridge.

According to our reporter, who visited the commercial district of Waterside early this week, the ongoing sand mining poses a great threat to the durability of the Bridge.

He expressed fear that the 100-year lifespan of the bridge could be shortened if the government through the relevant authorities does not urgently put a complete halt to what he described as the unabated sand mining around the modern bridge.

This is not the first time sand mining has been reported around the new bridge.

It could be recalled that while dedicating the bridge on December 30, 2011, former Public Works Minister warned against misuse of the bridge as he observed that unscrupulous people were using dynamite under the bridge.

He pointed out that this was seriously threatening its (bridge) existence.

However, months after the warning by the ex- Public Works Minister, there were reports of vandalism at the hands of criminals whose obvious intentions were to sell the looted and uprooted materials while at the same time ensuring that the bridge becomes impassable at nights.

"We have experienced theft and abuse of our infrastructure. While we're building, there are lots of destructions of our infrastructure," Minister Woods noted.

He said the Government had also taken a number of steps aimed at discontinuing such ugly abuses and disclosed that a couple of arrests were made.

"Now, we're working on the regulations. We're working along with the police and the Ministry of Justice. We've also arrested some people but, for now, we're working on a very stiff and strong regulation so that people will be arrested. And, the level of fine that will be imposed will be very serious," Minister Woods vowed.

"You will realize that the police have been taking some measures. For instance, you will realize that the police have reinforced their presence along the Waterside-Zulu Dumba Bridge to be able to address some of these concerns," he added.

Meanwhile, King Zulu Duma, who the bridge was named after, was a heroic chief in the Liberian history.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said naming the bridge after King Duma signified the remembrance of the contributions made by tribal leaders throughout Liberia's history.

King Duma was born in Gaworlon Town, Cape Montserrado in 1771 and died in 1864.

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