As active work has commenced on one side of the Somalia Drive road construction project, the government is yet to clear out light poles that are still on the other side.
The Somalia Drive road project is funded by the Japanese government.
The Liberian government, according to the agreement, is responsible for removing structures and light poles that fall within the road limit, while Japan hires the contractors.
The US$50 million grant project to make the road into a four lane thoroughfare was signed between the Liberian and Japanese governments on June 2, 2013.
In spite of the fact that government is aware of its obligation according to the agreement, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), a public corporation providing electricity, is yet to remove poles that fall within the limits of the road.
Winston Bedell, Public Relations Officer of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), recently told the Daily Observer that plans are underway to remove the poles.
There are two lines of poles; the newly planted ones believed to be transmitting current and the old ones right along the roadside.
Mr. Bedell said he does know whether the two lines of poles will have to be removed; however, he said LEC and the Ministry of Public Works will work together to resolve the problem when the time comes.
Prior to commencing the roadwork last year after the Ebola outbreak, government resettled owners of properties along the road.
Despite the resettlement, people are still stubbornly occupying structures for which they received money to demolish.
However, residents, upon hearing in recent days that the head of the Presidential Task Force and General Services Director, Mary Broh, was visiting the road, they began to reluctantly breakdown the structures.
Hindrances caused by the presence of light poles and other structures on the road recently raised speculations that DNC, with instruction from the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), would halt the workuntil it sees full compliance.
A DNC insider, however, said they were not aware of information that the work would be halted, but know that government needs to get both sides of the road free of obstruction for the construction work to proceed.
According to the insider, the project is a three-year project expected to be completed and dedicated at the later part of 2018.
The insider told this paper that they are still constructing a temporary bridge on the Stockton Creek; and upon completionnext week, they will commence work on the main bridge.
For the Ministry of Public Works, Assistant Minister for Technical Services and Operations, William Slour, confirmed the contractors’ concerns, but said he is not officially aware of halting the work.
Minister Slour also pointed out that those concerns have been highlighted at the highest level of the Liberian government.
“We have consistently registered the various constraints in several senior management meetings at the Ministry of Public Works,” he said.
He added that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and all major stakeholders in the nation’s road network sector have discussed JICA’s concerns about the road.
Heexplained that all necessary security steps have been instituted to avoid embarrassment for workers on the road.
He said government has deployed officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to control hurdles being posed by commercial drivers and end users of the Somalia Drive roadwork.
“The LNP officers assigned on that road are working on a 24 hour basis; and there are no impediments that could slow the construction work now,” Minister Slour stressed.
While touring the road on May 10, officers of LNP were seen a few yards away from the Stockton Creek Bridge restricting pedestrians and vehicles not to use the road while work is in progress.