Liberia: Lawmaker Wants Govt to Halt Demolition of Ria Highway Ahead of Road Expansion Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Monrovia — Rep. Ivar Jones (Independent, District #2, Margibi) says he has written the Ministry of Public Works urging them to relax ongoing demolition of properties along the Robertsfield highway for a period of one month.

Addressing legislative reporters Tuesday, the Margibi County lawmaker said, in the wake of the lockdown and State of Emergency, it would not be timely to demolish homes of people who have been asked to stay home or spent limited hours outdoors.

Said Rep. Jones: "We want to say for the record we welcome the work that is being done by the Ministry of Public works but what has caught our attention is at this time, the world is faced with a pandemic and to see our citizens' homes being demolished is heartbreaking. So, we are appealing to Public works to please give the people small chance."

The ministry recently began the demolition of homes along the Robertsfield highway to give way for the commencement of the construction of additional two lanes.

According to Rep. Jones, the Ministry has already begun paying people whose property will be affected just last week and has given them two weeks to vacate their homes something he said is jamming and untimely. "We are not calling for a halt to development, what we are asking for is more time because two weeks is not enough to allow an average Liberian to get money from the bank and find a new home. So, we want the Public works Ministry to give them an additional one month."

President George M. Weah in February broke ground for the expansion and pavement of the Roberts International Airport (RIA)-ELWA junction highway, valued at US$94.5 million, an initiative that was greeted with jubilations by scores of Liberians and partners.

The expansion work on the 44-kilometer stretch of highway will be done by East International Group Incorporated, over the period of 36 months (equivalent to three years).

The project is titled: "Upgrading to Dual Carriageway -- ELWA-Roberts International Airport Highway," cuts across Paynesville City in Montserrado County to Unification Town, in Margibi County.

The civil works with the actual construction is valued at US$80 million; design and supervision cost valued at US$7 million; and the management and resettlement action plan valued at US$7.5 million," Madam Kialain explained. "The length of the road is 45 km or 27.8 miles.

The design of the road takes into consideration many factors, including population density, social activities, and the topography, which led the highway into different sections. The new road, when completed, will have a toll location, which is Junk River Bridge.

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