Gov’t Breaks Ground For 4-Lane ‘ELWA Junction To Red Light Road’
By Justice R. Clarke & Rolinda J. Kantan
MONROVIA, July 29 (LINA) – Officials of the World Bank and European Union joined President George Weah to kick-start the rehabilitation into four lanes the road from ELWA Junction to just beyond Red Light Market in Paynesville, to connect with the finished phase leading to Gbarnga.
The 6.1 kilometer road is financed by the World Bank, Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF), and the government of Liberia at the cost of about US$10.9 million.
It is part of the Monrovia to Guinea Border Road rehabilitation covering a total length of 253 kilometers with the current cost measured at US$314.4 million,, comprising contributions from the World Bank amounting to US$157.7 million, representing 50 percent; the Liberian government shouldering US$47.8 million, meaning 15 percent; and LRTF contributing US$108.9 million, which is 35 percent.
LRTF is a multi-donor trust fund for infrastructure, which is supported by the contributions of the European Union, the governments of Great Britain (DfID), Sweden (Sida), Norway and Germany (KfW), and then the World Bank.
The government of Liberia, with assistance from partners, is keen about accomplishing the pavement of 1,000 kilometers of quality roads in the six years, echoed Samuel Tweah, minister of Finance and Development Planning.
At the brief ceremony held at the busy Redlight intersection, President George Weah told the gathering that the reconditioning of the urban road corridor in Paynesville would be joined by the Somalia Drive Road, whose Phase 1 has been completed and is in use.
The President said that he is always reminded of his responsibility to ensure that Liberia is developed under his leadership, and to do that he’s going to insist on connecting roads throughout the country as a major priority of his government.
This is key to achieving economic growth, he said, adding: “I had told you before that I will be the bridge that will connect Liberia to Liberians.”
President Weah added that if he would not achieve anything in the country; he will achieve road connectivity, stressing that ensuring such infrastructure is the bedrock of his administration.
He then took a cue from his football career by saying that “when you’re on the (substitute) bench and they bring you on, you will have to perform well. So I came from the bench and have to score a goal for the team to win,” a statement that was greeted by cheers from the mostly young people who made a circle, watching the event.
Flanked by officials of government, members of the international community with Ivorian international footballer Didier Drogba looking on, the Liberian leader said he was overwhelmed by the ‘enormous’ support Liberia continues to get from the World Bank, European Union and other donors in an effort to alleviate poverty amongst the population.
Moreover, the President mandated the Minister of Public Works to work with the Finance Minister to do what its legally required for the pavement of major feeder roads in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia.
Meanwhile, a member of the crowd at Redlight, Annie Sumo, 50, told LINA shortly before the groundbreaking ceremony that “we are happy today that our President will be here to break ground for this road because it will reduce the traffic and the way we are suffering here while selling.”
Annie sells cooked food she carries around using a wheelbarrow, and puts her daily income at L$3,000 which she hoped will increase “when things get better”.
Another trader, Mog Morgan, in his thirties, said: “We are highly impressed about this because it is important. We need road to connect other areas. When there is road, free movement will take place. The four lanes will be better for us because we will have free flow of traffic between the Junction and Red Light and also Coca Cola Factory.”