The stretch of road connecting Karnplay to one of Liberia’s lucrative ports at the border with Ivory Coast in Loguatuo is in very bad condition, threatening the passage of people, goods and trade between that neighboring country and Liberia.
Erosion and other problems have made the road impassable and caused residents to therefore appeal for intervention by the government. Also, according to villagers along the road, there are 2 small bridges along the way which, in the event of the coming heavy rains and potential floods, need to be reinforced especially for the heavy duty vehicles crossing them every day.
When this reporter toured the border last Saturday, he noticed several parts of the road had been eroded with deep ditches.
Aaron Gono, a motorcyclist said, “We are facing problems along this stretch of road, because of its deplorable condition and we pray that the central government in Monrovia will rehabilitate this road now. Any delay until the rains set in will create a major crisis which is bound seriously to affect government revenues and impair the movement of people and goods,” he stated.
The Loguatuo border remains the key point of entry for most of the agriculture products consumed in Liberia. Items such as livestock, pepper, beans, and groundnuts are all transported to Liberia from Mali and other West African countries through Cote d'Ivoire.
Other items that are imported through the port are plastic goods such as slippers and dishes as well as cotton goods.
Although the Ivoirian side of the border is still closed due to the Ebola oubreak, according customs and Immigration authorities, there are over a dozen empty trailers and trucks parked on the Liberian side waiting to recieve goods from the Ivorian side of the border.
“We come here every week to collect goods for our customers,” said one Laye. “I don’t think we will continue because the road is becoming bad for heavy vehicles like my trailer.”
Abel S. Voker, Custom Collector at Loguatuo said, “Economic activities will actually be hampered if the rains come down.”
Last year, business people plying the road used to complain about the deplorable road condition on the Ivorian side of the border.
“The Ivorian side of the road is currently undergoing rehabilitation, so it will be better for our side to be rehabilitated, too, otherwise the road will be closed altogether,” said the customs officer.
The stretch of road, which is believed to be less than 20 kilometers, was last rehabilitated in 2006 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to ease its repatriation activities. Since then, engineers of the UNMIL Bagladeshi contingent did basic maintenance and repairs on the road as needed. However, since the last installment of the Bangladeshi contingent left Nimba in 2013, there have been no other works done on that road.