Individuals, vehicle owners and motorbike riders are reportedly obstructing roadwork currently taking place on 24th Street in Sinkor, Monrovia.
According to laborers constructing the road, instead of using designated detour routes, individuals and motorbike riders force their way onto the road being constructed, which leaves tire and footmarks on the wet concrete.
Speaking to the Daily Observer recently, some of the laborers complained that when they block the road to prevent people and vehicles from plying the street and defacing the wet concrete, they break through to pass during the night hours.
On Saturday, April 1, 2017, the Mande Construction Company working on the road went further to block some outlets to the road because of the disruption to their work.
This, according to the laborers, brought serious setbacks to the work as they had to redo the portions defaced by people and vehicles.
The National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has financed that stretch of road from the entrance of the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre Cholera Unit towards the beach on 24th Street as an extension of the portion from Tubman Boulevard to the JFK Cholera Unit.
NASSCORP would have stopped at the JFK Cholera Unit with the concrete pavement, but decided to extend the road down to the beach following a request from residents of the community.
The work is being hastened to prevent further setbacks from the fast approaching rainy season.
Extension of the pavement will not give the community a facelift, but will also prevent flood disasters that usually affect residents during the rainy season.
Despite the long term benefits residents and drivers stand to get from this project, some residents and vehicle owners are failing to cooperate with the road builders by defying the instructions given them.
“When we come in the morning, we sometimes see foot and motorcycle marks on the cement, and the planks we use to block the road, broken,” a laborer said.
Impatient drivers on the other hand use a bypass to get to the main road down the beach side, but as they get there and see the intersection blocked, they break through to get to the road thus defacing the work already done by the contractors.
“See how the steel rods we tied here are loosened and bent in some places. This is done by car owners just to hinder the work,” another laborer said.
Before commencing work each morning, the laborers sweep the road to free it of plastics and other material waste dumped there by residents the previous night; only for residents to use the road as a dumpsite overnight.
Meanwhile, a woman in the community walking towards the newly constructed NASSCORP building on the Tubman Boulevard was heard saying: “These people are punishing us saying they’re building road. They block the road and people have nowhere to pass. I enjoy the motorbike boys for breaking their roadblock every night.”
There are two alternative roads in the community for vehicles and people to use while main road undergoes construction, but some people prefer the main road.
Eric Bracewell, Chief Financial Officer of the Mende Construction Company, said: “It was worse last year October when we began from the main Tubman Boulevard to the JFK Cholera unit.”
Giving a brief history of the company, Mr. Bracewell said the Mande Construction Company is a fully Liberian-owned company that employs Liberians.
“Our company is hundred percent Liberian-owned, and we’ve also worked on a road near the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) at the ELWA Junction. This particular work is dear to us because we want to prove our competence so government and others can know that Liberians can do even better than foreign companies,” Bracewell said.
Bracewell disclosed that the company currently has 14 regular employees and 28 laborers.
The Chief Financial Officer did not exactly state exact cost for constructing the road, but estimated it at between US$800,000 and $900,000.
The roadwork on 24th Street is part of similar works currently ongoing around Sinkor, on either side of the Tubman Boulevard; except that this particular site is fully financed by NASSCORP. The rest are government-financed projects under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Works.
Up to press time, Mande Construction said the situation continues unabated but that they are trying to find ways to work with the constant intrusion on their work to complete the road construction on time.