Residents of Ganta, mainly those affected by the demolition carried out by the Chinese road construction company, CICO, are now in jubilant mood for the commencement of the Ganta-Saclepea roadwork after years of expressed wish that the project would be carried out some days.
Most of those jubilating have their structures on the main street of Ganta making business and earning money; a situation that would cause anyone to oppose such a demolition exercise, but it is not the case with these residents who are so anxious to see the stretch of road from Ganta to Saclepea and then Grand Gedeh paved to get the issue of bad road off their back.
The demolition process began at the NP Gas Station with caterpillar and excavator breaking down buildings that were marked earlier and considered to be on the right away.
The Ministry of Public Works had marked all the properties believed to be on the right-away and late last year the government paid those whose properties were marked, giving them a timeframe to relocate.
“We are very happy to see the beginning of this road; development does not come so easy, said a resident identified as Kromah.
When the Daily Observer arrived at the demolition site, some businesspeople were hurriedly packing and relocating their goods to other areas.
Usually when roadwork as such is ongoing, those whose properties fall within the confines of the road are given resettlement packages to enable them reestablish. While the residents are happy for the work to commence, there are however some who have not received this resettlement package and they believe it is unfair to them.
“I have a motorbike store and it was destroyed without any benefit for my property,” said Winston Glaydor, a motorcycle dealer in Ganta.
“The Public Works appraised my store, but whenever I go to them for my payment, they keep telling me to wait,” Glaydor added, shows copies of the appraisal document given him by Public Works.
Nimba County District #9 Representative, Johnson Gwaikolo who made a brief stop to witness the demolition process, said he had received complaints from some affected people about breaking down their shops or stores which were not marked.
Even though, he did not name the complainants, he said has received two complaints so far and he was inquiring what will be those affected people’s benefits.
As the lawmaker attempted to explain complaints brought to him, his comments were intercepted by noise from the jubilant crowd telling him not to speak for anyone or try to intervene on anyone’s behalf because their properties were destroyed.
Making his way through to talk with the Public Works team leader on the concerns raised by the affected party, the citizens continue to interject, asking him to leave the company to leave to continue its work.
In a brief interview, Rep. Gwaikolo hailed the government for the exercise, adding that the opening of the stretch of road to Saclapea will boost economic activities and bring relief to those living along the road and beyond.
“As Representative for the people, I have to listen to their grievances and also address them, but I have not come to put a stop to any work,” Rep. Gwaikolo said.
On December 2, 2020 the Government of Liberia and CICO reached a contractual agreement to construct the Ganta – Saclepea Road.
At the signing ceremony in Ganta, the Ministry of Public Works explained that the upgrading of the 39 km Ganta-Seclepea Road portion of the South Eastern Road corridor is the first of the two lots of the stretch of road from Ganta to Tappita, which is 100 kilometers.
The MPW puts the duration of the construction or upgrading work to about 22 months, beginning December last year and a defect liability period of 12 months. However, the cause of delay is yet to be explained.
Accordingly, the road will be upgraded from an unsealed gravel road to a road paved with asphalt with a carriage way width of 7.5 meters, and 1.5 meter shoulders on either side.
The upgrading works will begin in Ganta at the intersection of the ‘Suakoko Highway’ and end in Saclepea.
According to Public Works, several drainages and bridges are expected to be constructed along the road, with the designed life of 20 years and operational speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
Work on this road first began in 1984 under the Ganta-Harper Highway Project, and the pavement began at the very intersection where the current project is to start, and ended near the LPMC building in Ganta. Hindrance to its construction was primarily due to the civil war that lasted for one and a half decades.