In her annual State of the Nation’s address to the National Legislature on January 27, 2014, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that road construction remains on top of Liberia’s socio-economic development transformation.
President Sirleaf said that final discussions with the Japanese Government have been concluded for the reconstruction of the Somalia Drive/Red-light corridor in Monrovia.
The Liberian leader explained that the completion of that vital road corridor would considerably reduce the huge menace of traffic congestion that had over the years become a nightmare for commuters and business people in Monrovia.
Many skeptics of the administration have expressed some concern about the snail’s pace of negotiations with the Japanese Government regarding the Somalia Drive road project.
Understandably, the Japanese Government had insisted on many occasions that funds would not made available if the Liberian Government does not settle property owners through the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Works.
President also warned that people undertaking the building of houses on the right ways and ignoring laws and regulations would certainly be removed to give way to genuine national development, growth and progress in the country.
In the South East, President Sirleaf disclosed that the Karnwenkan/Tapita Highway would also start this year in order to connect the hard-to-reach areas in that part of rural Liberia.
President Sirleaf also disclosed that connecting each county’s capital city with paved roads would be a top priority for this administration during 2014 and beyond.
The President Sirleaf reminded Liberians and support partners that as part of the Liberian Government’s road projects, feeder roads rehabilitation remains paramount and under serious consideration.
In Lofa County alone, several feeder roads have been rehabilitated thus improving the transport of farmers’ produce to all of the county’s major markets thereby improving their socio-economic conditions.
She added that feasibility studies for the Gbarnga/Bong County and Mendikorma Highway have been concluded and final finishing touches are being worked for the full pavement beginning sometime this year.
President Sirleaf intimated that the Government of the Kingdom of Kuwait has consented to fund that road project leading to Liberia’s biggest socio-economic food basket.
However, citizens and residents of Lofa County have also on many occasions expressed serious concern about the slow pace of the feasibility studies for the reconstruction and pavement of the Gbarnga/Mendikorma Highway in Bong and Lofa Counties.
President Sirleaf also pointed out that reconstruction of the nation’s road network has encountered some serious challenges—especially construction work that is associated with the use of laterite.
Commenting on the sources funding some of the road projects, President Sirleaf indicated that US$16 million would need to be mobilized in order to enhance the infrastructure development of the nation’s road network.
The Chief Executive further intimated that tackling the construction of primary and secondary roads still remains a major challenge and serious constraints are yet to be overcome.
In closing on the road projects, President Sirleaf cautioned Liberians and lawmakers that the solution to the enormous challenges and resource constraints cannot be a quick-fix on the part of the Liberian Government.