The Senegalese road construction firm, Compagnie Saheliemae D’Entreprises (CSE) has begun constructing bridges and culverts along the Ganta-Yekepa highway. The exercise is part of the long awaited construction of the highway.
The company resumed active work along the route following President George Weah’s visit there in June, where he spoke of the need to press ArcelorMittal to remain committed to providing the funds for the construction.
Since President Weah’s visit, CSE has begun active work on the road by keeping it accessible during the current rainy season.
“Upon the completion of the culvert and/or the bridge works, the company will immediately start the earth works, leading to the pavement,” said one of the engineers on condition of anonymity.
The construction of the road was abruptly halted shortly after ArcelorMittal through its CEO in 2007, committed the company to construct that stretch of road as a birthday gift to then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
For the past 10 years, pavement of the road has been delayed due to what the ArcelorMittal described as the global economic recession, which has affected the company since 2012.
After the citizens of Nimba, under the banner, “Concerned Nimbaians”, mounted pressure, ArcelorMittal again said the money for the road pavement had been assigned to the government, a claim the government could not deny or confirm.
After CSE won the bid and commenced work to pave the road, the project subsequently came to a halt, because of the government’s failure to remit money into CSE’s account.
Prior to President Weah’s visit, there were reports that the government had been pressing ArcelorMittal to ensure that the money for the construction is available.
During President Weah’s visit to Nimba in June, he apologized to ArcelorMittal saying, “the government’s action was not meant to go against the company, but to ensure that the management did not renege on what they promised to do.”
Upon his departure from his assessment tour of the road, the company immediately began the process of construction, which is now in full swing with the laying of culverts and the building of new bridges.