Liberia: Senators Impressed with Ongoing Work on RIA Road
-Differs with Public Works over contractor’s capacity, performance
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works has expressed his committee's satisfaction over the rehabilitation work done on the ELWA to RIA highway by East International, contrary to a recent statement by the Minister of Public Works that the company lacks both the financial and technical capacities to implement the project.
Snowe came following an unannounced 45-minute tour of the project site. The portion of the road work visited by the team, which others consider too short to draw a conclusion, stretches from the SKD Stadium towards ELWA hospital.
Snowe, however, said, " The portion we have seen, and from other unannounced visits by private engineers and their reports sound conflicting to what was told by the Public Works Ministry.”
The Minister of Public Works Ruth Coker-Collins has warned earlier that East International lacks both the technical and financial capacities to implement it.
The project, which calls for construction of a four-lane highway, was expected to be completed and dedicated in 2024, at a cost of US$116 million, but the minister has expressed doubt about the time frame. The road is intended to improve the country’s airport road while spurring economic growth.
Last November, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon in a communication warned that if immediate action was not taken, the construction company contracted to construct the Robert International Airport highway, may not be completed until 2027 or beyond.
East International, long before the ministry’s report, has had its ability to implement the multi-million dollar contract questioned due to lack of prior work experience.
Meanwhile, Saah Joseph, who is also a member of the Committee has disclosed that he observed that the thickness of the base coat of the road is impressive as compared to the existing road.
With regard to the wideness of the road, Snowe said it will be like the Japanese Freeway with the same middle division between the two lanes of four."
The Bomi County Senator disclosed that his Committee is going to encourage both the Road Fund, the Liberian government, and the contractor as per their pre-financing arrangement to accelerate the work before the ensuing rainy season:
"This will be a shame and embarrassment to us if this component of the road is not completed before the rainy season. "
Snowe said discussions between the contractor and the Executive Branch is that from the ELWA Junction to Thinkers Village to complete that part of the road before the rains, and from the airport to the bridge will also be completed and then mobilize so that the next dry season they can attack the remaining.
"So contrary to what we heard from Minister Ruth Coke Collins, our visit here today is showing us something else."
Meanwhile, for his part, Joseph has criticized the contractors for undertaking such a massive construction project without first providing a detour for motorists, who report staying in endless traffic for several hours.