Bad Roads Restrict Travel, Inflate Prices in Gbarpolu

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According to the AfDB project document, the expected outcomes are reduced transportation costs and travel time.

Deplorable road networks in Gbarpolu County, western Liberia, have seriously delayed travelers from reaching their destinations at high costs.

The road connecting Sawmill and the main Swen Mecca District with Bopolu City (the provincial capital) have so deteriorated driving up car pay and the cost of goods and services by the day.

Most commuters using those routes impassable by vehicles have resolved to go by motorbike, because no driver dares to ply his or her vehicle over such bad roads.

“Traveling by motorbike makes the journey  tedious and hectic,” most of the commuters told the Daily Observer in the county.

Some sections of the road have become a quagmire of thick mud, thereby making it difficult for even motorbike riders to pass through with ease.

“In some cases, we have to climb down from our motorbikes several times to allow the riders to force their way through the mud, before we can continue our journey,” the travelers added.

Traders from Belleh District are unable to reach Bopolu City by either motorbike or vehicles as the rivers and streams along those routes have flooded their banks and have inundated the roads.

Kongba District is also badly effected by deplorable road conditions.

Normally, motor vehicles would take about six to seven hours from Lofa Bridge to Kungbor, a popular diamond mining region and center of Kongba District, but now they take a day or two to get there due to the deplorable condition of the road.

At some points, bigger vehicles are forced to turn back and let motorbike riders transport the travelers and their goods.

As a result of the bad condition of the roads, the price of basic commodities such as rice, gasoline, diesel and the like have increased.

For example, a cup of rice is now sold at L$60, up from the previous price of L$25, while a gallon of gasoline is sold for between L$410 and L$450 in some parts of the county, as compared to the previous price of L$350. The increments have subsequently affected transportation fares, with distances that used to cost L$25  now cost as high as L$50-60.

Meanwhile, the Daily Observer has gathered that to due to the hardship, some residents in Kongba District are now crossing over to Sierra Leone to purchase basic consumer goods, which they consider more economical than traveling to Monrovia.

Businessman Amadou Kamara told this newspaper in the mining town of Gold Camp that because of the bad roads, “I prefer to sell my goods in the camp. I will only go back to Kongba District at the end of the rainy season.”

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