|This Promise Will Be Kept - Woods Assures Grand Bassa, Launches Final Phase Of Buchanan Rd Pavement|
|Published on October 31, 2011||Email To Friend Print Version
Performing the launch of the third and final phase of the Buchanan Road pavement in the sea erosion-threatened city of Buchanan, Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods assured the people of Grand Bassa County that the promise to pave their road to the fullest will certainly be kept.
The launch of the pavement of the third segment of the Cotton Tree-Buchanan City road, Minister Woods said, was a clear demonstration of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led Government’s commitment to live up to the promise.
The government and partners are cashing out at least US$50 million to pave the approximately 90 kilometers (about 56.9 miles) road within an estimated four-year period, from April 2009 to June 2013.
Th e first segment of 25 kilometers (15.43 miles), stretching from Cotton Tree in Margibi to Bokay’s Town was paved by the Chinese road construction giant in the country, CHICO, in 17 months (April 2009 to September 2010) at the cost of US$9.782 million.
The Chinese firm also completed pavement of the second segment of 6.17 miles (with only a bridge remaining) in April 2011 at the cost of US$6.6 million, and are now embarked on the final and longest segment which will enter the Port of Buchanan.
Expected be completed in 25 months, the pavement of the 57 kilometers (35.18 miles) of road carries a total cost of US$33.7 million, and will include the construction of brand new bridges, improvement of drainage structures and culvert installations, among several other specifications, aimed at modernizing the road leading to one of Liberia’s most prosperous economic zones.
The Cotton Tree-Buchanan road pavement project is the first of the government’s long-term strategy to link all the 15 counties’ capitals with asphalt paved roads, a development that would improve the easy movements of people and flow of goods and services, said Minister Woods.
Speaking during Wednesday’s launch—graced by county officials including Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell, officials of CHICO and those of the project consultant (egis International)—Minister Woods told the gathering that he was in the county as “a messenger of President Sirleaf - the chief architect of Liberia.”
Minister Woods reemphasized that President Sirleaf was committed to delivering on her promises to linking counties with asphalt paved roads, and the people of Grand Bassa were the first to begin benefitting. “That commitment will be kept, that promise will be kept and that’s what Grand Bassa is feeling now,” the Infrastructure Minister intimated. “And in about five years, more counties will benefit,” he added.
“This Buchanan road will be done,” Minister Woods insisted, noting that all aspects including technical specifications and background studies have been concluded, leading to the formal launch for the pavement of the road.
Minister Woods called on the contractors to ensure that two sets of yellow machines are working on both sides of the road to finish on time, but warned that the Government and people of Liberia want nothing less than quality road.
He advised the Chinese road construction company to stick to the technical specifications of the road. “We want our road to be the best and durable. We want the best road in the world, not just in Africa,” the Infrastructure Minister demanded, emphasizing, “We want sound infrastructure.”
Minister Woods commended all of those who had worked to make the completion of the first two segments a success and rally the support and cooperation of the people of Grand Bassa in the completion of the final segment.
The Minister asked the locals to see the project as theirs because—while it is true the road will benefit the country in general—they who are the primary users will benefit most when it is completed.
En route to Buchanan, Minister Woods and delegation made several stops along the road to inspect completed works, ongoing and preparatory works for the final stage of the project. He held talks with the project consultants on speeding up the project to finish on time.
He applauded progress of the construction of the Road Maintenance Training Center (RMTC) complex in Camp Mechlin, few kilometers from Buchanan, and called for the protection of the rest of the facilities not being currently renovated to server encroachment on the Ministry’s properties.
The RMTC served as a fertile breeding ground for road technicians and engineers prior to the war in 1989, but was looted and destroyed during the 14-year fracas. Now being restored, the facilities will initially be used by the Buchanan road contractors following which it will be turned over the Ministry of Public Works to resume its original role, the Minister said.
“I am impressed with that project and we are happy with the level of development we see taking place there,” confessed Minister Woods. “Indeed, I am satisfied with all that I have seen during this visit, and I will just encourage all stakeholders—our engineers and technicians, the contractors and the local people—to work hard together, to accelerate the progress made thus far,” he told journalist at the climax of his daylong assessment.
The Minister and delegation also toured the facilities of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation and those of the Liberia Electricity Corporation as well as the Port of Buchanan– agencies which he said have roles to play in the road construction.
Meanwhile the county’s Superintendent Duncan-Cassell welcomed the launch of the pavement of the final segment of the Buchanan road and called on her people to enthusiastically support the initiative by cooperating with the contractors.
The all-smiling Superintendent said the pavement of the rest of the road from Compound #1 to the port city is something that has long been yearned by the people of her county, and they will now begin to smile because they are about to see what she called light.
Grand Bassa is a major economic basin of the country, playing host to the world steel giant ArcelorMittal, the Buchanan Renewable Energy, the Liberia Agriculture Company, among others, multi million investment.
Madam Duncan-Cassell said with the region being a strong economic stronghold of the country, the pavement of the Buchanan road would bolster the country’s economy and improve the lives of those in the county as well.
She called on citizens of the county to take ownership of the project.
The Ministry of Public Works, through its Infrastructure and Implementation Unit, with funding from the Liberian Reconstruction Trust Fund, managed by the World Bank, is executing the project.
Key activities of the project include asphalt pavement, improvement of drainage systems, and installation of requisite signs along the road.
Already, the paved segment of the Cotton Tree-Buchanan road is now being described as the best stretch of road in the country, overtaking the Klay-Bo Waterside road in the Western Liberian counties of Bomi and Grand Cape Mount.