Bridge Over St. John River Turns Death Trap

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Flashback: The bridge as it was repaired by Atlantic Resources (a logging company) in 2007. Now the concessionaires in the area say because they are paying taxes, the Government of Liberia should now take responsibility to fix the bridge.

Superintendent orders road closed to traffic

The bridge over St. John River connecting Kokoyah Statutory District in Bong County with Compound #3 ‘C’ in Grand Bassa County have become a near death trap, the Superintendent of Kokoyah Statutory District Conde Yallah has confirmed.

This bridge was constructed in the 1960s by the Liberia-American Mining Company (LAMCO), but most of the pillars under the planks are broken, thereby posing threat to human lives.

“Since 2007, the damaged planks were repaired by Atlantic Resources. Since that time, the bridge has not been reconditioned,” Supt. Yallah told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview on Saturday, October 27 in Gbarnga.

As a result, Supt. Yallah said he has ordered the closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic pending the intervention of engineers from the Ministry of Public Works to restore sanity to the area.

The St. John River Bridge which links the two counties has paralyzed commercial activity due to its bad state.

“The bridge was not originally designed to host heavy vehicles and, because it was not maintained, there have been several tragedies involving cars and motorcycles that have fallen into the water,” Yallah said.

According to him, he has written all the logging companies, including the Atlantic Resource Company that uses this route to transport their logs to the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, to recondition the bridge, but they are yet respond the request.

“Each time I engaged any of them, they always told me that they are paying taxes to the government, so the only way I think they will come in is to stop them from plying that route,” Yallah stressed.

Some of the residents who agreed with Supt. Yallah’s decision said “when it rains, school children around the area are not able to go to school, because the bridge gets wet and is unsafe for people to walk on it. Even drivers and commuters are not able to use the route in such a condition, so we are appealing to the government to recondition the bridge. With the current condition, we are really suffering, and if the authorities fail to fix it, it means that our votes have gone to waste.”

“If they fail to fix the bridge, we will come together and drive away any politician who will come here to campaign during elections when the locals have no access to road,” he said.

“The bridge is deteriorating by the day; it is now a death trap. This St. John River Bridge is significant for us, because that is the only road that leads from this part of Bong County to Grand Bassa County. As it is, it means all the weekly markets have been closed,” some of the residents said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Every time I read about Liberia’s economic progress I become a bit apprehensive.

    Considering Liberia’s limited budget and a struggling economy, won’t it be fiscally prudent for this administration to put a temporary freeze on hiring non-essential governmental positions and use Liberia’s meager resources on revamping the economy?

    Why not focus on upgrading public institutions of learning, the health care system, public safety, and infrastructure development: building roads, public rail transport, electric power, pipe borne water, ports and bridges have a greater potential of generating gainful employment.

    Create a business friendly environment to attract both local and foreign investors.

    I have traveled to many developing countries of the world: Asia, East Africa, and South America. Most infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, China, Rwanda, Senegal, Laos and Ecuador are done by a large Chinese Engineering and Construction Conglomerate called China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

    These large engineering projects in China, Asia, South America and around Africa carried out by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) make all the road and bridge projects done by CHICO and CICO in Liberia look like minor engineering projects.

    CRBC is responsible for constructing the longest bridge in the world that now connects Hong Kong to Macau and Main Land China. Also, CRBC built the longest bridge in Angola and Indonesia. They are also responsible for building major highways and passenger rails in Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Our leaders and government officials, past and present, attend the yearly AU (African Union) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Why can’t Liberian officials meet with these progressive African leaders and find out how these African leaders are soliciting large development funds and negotiating with China in attracting their Best Engineering Firm and other major Chinese businesses: China Engineering and Construction Conglomerate (CRBC), Sinohydro Corporation, Huawei Technologies, and AVIC International into their countries.

    Our roads, ports, public learning institutions, hospitals, rails and bridges are all deplorable! Our deplorable infrastructures need to be rebuilt! However, they should be rebuilt to international standard for durability similar to what China’s best engineering firm (CRBC) is doing for our African Counterparts.

    Some of these non-essential government appointments need to be put on temporary freeze because these positions are currently not adding any economic value to an already weak economy.

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