The Du River Bridge, which collapsed in 2017, is finally rebuilt and reopened, Firestone Liberia announced on Monday, December 6.
The bridge forms part of a critical thoroughfare connecting the company’s base of operations in Harbel to vast sections of the concession, including the Firestone Medical Center campus, as well as linking major centers of commerce within the country.
The Du River Bridge collapsed in 2017 as a result of heavily loaded trucks transporting material for the Roberts International Airport runway project. Since the collapse of the bridge, Firestone Liberia has been working closely with the GoL, as a matter of priority, to find a solution for its reconstruction. The bridge was originally scheduled to open in 2020; however, the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic resulted in unavoidable delays with the bridge manufacturer.
The GoL and Firestone Liberia reached an agreement through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), with Firestone Liberia committing to paying the US$1.3 million costs of the bridge and required civil works associated with the project. In turn, the GoL will provide future tax relief to Firestone Liberia in the amount of 60% of the project cost.
“The Du River Bridge project is a good example of government and private sector working together to achieve a solution that benefits the lives of Liberians and the country’s economy,” said Don Darden, general manager, Firestone Liberia.
Under the same MoU, the GoL has committed to prioritizing, through its National Infrastructure Development Plan, repairs to the road leading to the bridge which was damaged by the heavily loaded trucks supporting the GoL airport runway project.
Representing the Government of Liberia (GoL) for the bridge dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel F. Mcgill. A cross-section of government officials from the executive and legislative branches of government and a large number of employees representing Firestone Liberia were also present for the dedication.
The fix bridge will now alleviate the difficulty citizens once encounter in commuting along the route. It is regularly used by people traveling to the Duside Hospital, Kakata, and surrounding divisions of the Firestone plantation and travellers from Buchanan to Gbarnga.
The Bridge which is a two-lane carriageway, 160ft long, 24ft wide with a pedestrian walk was reconstructed by Jupiter Construction, a Liberian-owned construction firm.
According to Jupiter Construction, the New Du River Bridge has a lifespan of approximately one hundred years, with a tolerance level or tonnage of 100 tons. The estimated cost of the huge silver metal is valued at approximately One Million United States Dollars, co-funded by the Firestone Rubber Plantation and the Liberian Government.