Liberia: Broken Bridge Creates Uncertainties for Grand Bassa County Community College

Buchanan — Students of the Grand Bassa Community College seem to be hopeless of attending school next semester due to the deplorable condition of a bridge connecting the city with the main campus of the college.

Recently, heavy rainfall creating a massive flood damaged the bridge and several homes in Pensberry, a suburb of Buchanan city, where the college is located.

After the bridge was wrecked by flood waters, commuters are now constrained to use canoe in order to have access to the campus or communities within its environs.

The bridge was constructed by Liberia American Minding Company (LAMCO) over 20 years ago, but was rehabilitated after the college moved to its new campus.

A reported US$10, 000 was used by the county's project management committee from the county development funds to renovate the bridge.

Johnny Cole, a resident of Pensberry, claims that the bridge has not been maintained properly in recent years.

"The government refused to properly maintain this bridge since LAMCO constructed this bridge. Sometimes they come and put few planks on the bridge and paint it then they say they have maintain it which is not the proper way", Cole asserted.

He said GBCC students and residents of the area have been complaining about the deplorable condition of bridge even before it was damaged by the flood, but there were no attention given by government officials.

"Thank God that the flood came and did it this away because we were going to die on this bridge before the so call government officials could have done something on this bridge", he said.

Jonathan Joe, a fisherman in the area, said the bridge had overstayed causing all of its steels to erode.

"All these irons on this bridge are old. When LAMCO constructed this bridge many cars were not going across the bridge but since the college went across the bridge heavy cars can be passing over the bridge which has been risky ", said Joe.

Ralph Davis, a student of GBCC, says the county administration must work speedily to reconstruct the bridge so that the college can continue its classes.

"We are getting older and if we lose a semester, it will take us backward. We are calling on the county and other NGOs to come to our aid quickly", Davis noted.

Students of the Grand Bassa Community College were recently relocated to the Bassa High school campus in central Buchanan to do final exams since the main campus is cut off.

The campus of Bassa High, which is the major public school in the county, hosted the GBCC for several years before the college moved to its own campus.

So far, there has been no work done on the damaged bridge as next school semester is expected to begin September.

Many students are becoming apprehensive that the situation may not be remedied before the next semester.

Matthew Joe, Buchanan district representative at the Legislature, and county Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh recently visited the site of the damaged bridge.

Following the trip, the lawmaker posted on Facebook: "Tuesday, July 24, 2018, the superintendent of Grand Bassa Janjay Baikpeh and I visited the collapsed bridge of the Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC)... , It saddens our hearts to have this bridge broken down, but again, it was due to natural cause."

He continued: "The superintendent, other members of the caucus and I are working behind the scene to have this bridge fully repaired and functional. We want to use this medium to call on all concession entities including, but not limited to: Arcelor Mittal, Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), and other companies residing in Grand Bassa, to come to the aid of our students, faculty and administrators. Grand Bassa shall rise again; long live the land of hospitality".

Recently, administrators of the college were seen using canoe to transfer their major documents back to Buchanan.

Reverend Samuel Reeves, Interim President of the College, is currently in the United States and FPA has reliably gathered that his office wrote the college's Board of Trustees two weeks ago about the damaged bridge situation.

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