As deplorable road conditions continue to frustrate many Liberians unable to travel to their home counties during the rainy season, two Senators from Grand Kru and River Gee are pleading with Government to prioritize the repair of roads leading to these southeastern counties.
Speaking recently to reporters in Monrovia, Senator Peter Coleman of Grand Kru and Albert Chie of River Gee concurred that bad road conditions remain a serious hindrance to people of that part of the country.
As a condition experienced every year, the two Senators lamented that people from southeastern counties living in Monrovia are unable to visit those counties, thereby denying them the opportunity to see their families, relatives and friends.
Furthermore, they indicated that bad road conditions contribute to disease and poverty in those counties as goods and medical supplies hardly reach them during the rainy season, which reportedly increases death rates in that part of the country.
Senator Coleman, who is also a medical doctor, said “President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must give attention to roads leading to the southeast and Lofa since US$5 million has been allocated for roads every budget year. We know the government has made some strides in improving roads and other social services, but people in the southeast remain cut off every year, and this is not a good thing for the people.”
Most roads in Liberia are unpaved and mostly dusty, yet the country experiences heavy rainfall every year. With rains commencing in May and peaking in August, it leaves unpaved roads inaccessible, and people living in most parts of the hinterland are separated from those in Monrovia and other cities.
Transportation fares demanded by the few vehicles able to ply these bad roads increase likewise the prices of basic commodities, including petroleum and food in Lofa, Gbarpolu, River Cess, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Kru and Maryland.
However slowly, government is endeavoring to address the enormous problems arising from bad road conditions in the country.
Besides roads in and around Monrovia, government and its partners, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the European Union and African Development Bank (AfDB), have completed or are in the process of completing several major roads across the country.
For instance, the road leading from Red Light to the border with Guinea in Ganta, Nimba County, was dedicated this year, while the one from Cotton Tree in Margibi County to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County was dedicated three years ago.
The Babangida Highway from Bomi to Bo Waterside in Grand Cape Mount County is regarded as one of the best roads in the country. The EU is sponsoring its maintenance.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is also sponsoring the pavement of a stretch of road from River Gee to Maryland County while the Ganta-Yekepa Highway in Nimba County is undergoing construction with funding from the ArcelorMittal Liberia social development fund.
Major roads that remain challenging in the country include the one from Grand Bassa to Sinoe and Grand Kru; from Ganta in Nimba to Grand Gedeh (former Ganta Harper Highway); from Gbarnga to Voinjamin, Lofa County; and from Bomi to Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.
The road from Monrovia to Bomi County is in need of repair as the asphalt has come apart in large sections of the road thus impeding the smooth movement of vehicles.