Public Works Needs US$1.6B for Paved Primary, Secondary Roads

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In order to modernize Liberia’s primary and secondary roads, Public Works Minister Gyude Moore says the Ministry needs US$1.6 billion.
This amount, Minister Moore revealed, would only connect county capitals, for example from Buchanan, Grand Bassa County to Greenville, Sinoe County or from Barclayville, Grand Kru County to Pleebo, Maryland County.
Additionally, the funds will cover the roads from Medina to Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, from Gbarpolu to Bomi County and from Vahun in Lofa County to Grand Cape Mount. These roads would ensure the vital connections for the conveyance of people, goods and services among Liberians in the country.
Minister Moore pointed out that the cost figure was derived as a result of professional assessments carried out by personnel of the Ministry.
In 15 years the Ministry would need US$1.5 billion to fulfill the modernization of the nation’s road network, Minister Moore told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview at his Ministry in Monrovia yesterday.
Commenting on hard to reach parts of the country, he reiterated that the MPW has plans to connect Vahun to Bomi, and on to Monrovia which would take a much shorter period of time, instead of traveling from Monrovia all the way to Voinjama and on past Kolahun to Vahun. The Vahun-Bomi connection would significantly cut the travel time to one of the nation’s most remote areas—Vahun, which lies at the far northern tip of Lofa, bordering Sierra Leone.
On the reconstruction and rehabilitation of feeder roads, Minister Moore disclosed that the government in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) has reconditioned more than 1000 roads in Liberia.
He said the MPW has resolved to pursue a policy of hiring highly qualified international consultants to play the roles of supervisors and monitoring specialists to oversee the implementation of road construction and rehabilitation works in the country.
Two Chinese companies are involved in road construction in the country. Cico is building the road from RedLight to Gbarnga; while Chico is constructing the road from Gbarnga to Ganta as far as the Guinea border.
These two companies are being paid on the basis of what the Minister calls the ‘Output and Performance-based Road Contract.’ This means that the road construction will take two years, with another eight years built into the contracts for maintenance.
The road from Red Light to Gbarnga is being supervised by the New Zealand Company OPUS International. The road from Gbarnga to Ganta is being supervised by the company IMC Worldwide that hails from the United Kingdom.
On the payment terms and conditions for contractors, Minister Moore said a system has been put into place to pay contractors in installments based on three phases of implementation. The contractors will be paid 30 percent up front as their first installment. MPW will pay 30 percent on completion of each of the remaining two phases. MPW will withhold 10 percent for maintenance of the road. After a year and upon MPW’s satisfaction with the road construction, it will then pay the remaining 10 percent.
The MPW boss, however, indicated that owing to the multitude of feeder roads in Liberia, much needs to be done to connect the farmers.
As the year progresses, Minister Moore disclosed that pavement of vital primary roads in the southeastern counties of Maryland, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Sinoe will start.
The bidding processes for awarding road contracts aimed at ensuring quality and standard construction works have been initiated at the MPW, Minister Moore asserted.
He reminded Liberians and support partners that to ensure standard and quality works and also guarantee durability, substantial investment of funds would be needed.
The PW Minister also disclosed that a majority of the road reconstruction projects are concentrated in Montserrado County because the county accounts for 60 percent of vehicular movement.
He said most of the ongoing road projects will be completed during the upcoming dry season.
To decongest the heavy traffic on Somalia Drive, Minister Moore said plans have been crafted to construct and connect the Kesselly Boulevard, the street located in Gardnersville connecting the Barnersville Estate Junction. This street was started in the 1980s. The current project is to link 12th Street to Somalia Drive.
The Monrovia-Paynesville commuters will be pleased to learn that PW Minister Moore has plans afoot to develop a four-lane paved highway from ELWA Junction to Coca Cola Factory.
MPW also plans to commence rehabilitation of drainages in the city during the upcoming dry season.
Minister Moore intimated that PW is operating on US$23 million while its annual budgetary requirements amount to at least US$100 million to carry out its work.
Minister Moore told the Daily Observer that there are several professional documents being produced that will assist incoming administrations at MPW.
“Our legacy as professional and dedicated Liberians is to leave a system that will ensure continuity of programs and projects that establish development, growth and progress for our successors,” Minister Moore asserted.

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