The construction of the Ganta–Yekepa road has suffered yet another setback.
Nimba County Superintendent D. Dorr Cooper said the construction which includes paving the road will not be completed this year and that the contracting firm, Compagnie Sahelieme D’Entreprises (CSE), a Senegalese-owned company, will only carry out basic roadwork to keep it pliable. Supt. Cooper made the disclosure in an exclusive Daily Observer interview in Sanniquellie, the county’s political capital, over the weekend.
He said government is meanwhile lobbying with its partners for money to begin paving the road “sometime during the next dry season.”
Supt. Cooper stated that “The government is yet to receive the money ArcelorMittal promised for the construction of the road.”
For that reason, the company, through CSE, is maintaining some hard-to-repair segments of the Ganta–Sanniquellie highway.
It may be recalled that the road nearly collapsed during last year’s rainy season, but CSE managed to maintain it until the dry season.
CSE, however, partially withdrew and relocated most of its equipment due to government’s failure to pay some of the money.
During her county tour in February this year, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reaffirmed government’s commitment to construct the road. Nimbaians are, however, waiting to see if the President’s promise will be fulfilled given the short span of her remaining time in office.
In October 2007, the chief executive officer (CEO) of world Steel giant ArcelorMittal, who was then paying a visit to Liberia, promised to fund the construction of the highway as a birthday gift to President Sirleaf.
But a year after the promise, the world experienced a global economic meltdown that brought setbacks affecting the road construction plan.
The bid to construct the road was advertised, with CSE winning the bid to construct the road for US$40 million.