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|Modern Lofa City Looms: Residents Cheer Groundbreaking for Paved Capital, Voinjama||| Print ||
|Written by Rodney D. Sieh, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sunday, 23 December 2012 23:09|
Voinjama, Lofa County – The breadbasket of Liberia is getting a long-overdue facelift with the groundbreaking Saturday of the construction of post-war Liberia’s first paved county capital city.
Voinjama, the home to a population of approximately 5,000 residents, like most of rural Liberia has been nagged by dust for most of its existence posing health risk to residents who feel the pain daily from commuting vehicles plying the city’s streets.
Breaking grounds Saturday, Vice President Joseph Boakai said the pavement of the roads will change life in the county’s capital for the better.
“When we build good roads the schools will improve, business will improve. All of those things which take long to come will improve,” the vice president said Saturday.
Why Lofa? ‘Because it is…’
Haunted by criticisms over why Lofa was selected as the first county for pavement, Veep Boakai, a son of the county said simply: “The only reason that I have is because it is Lofa County; I can’t tell you anything more. Some people are saying “why they didn’t pave the roads and the streets?”
For God in heaven sake, to live in the place you call the capital city and everywhere you go is dust, all the good building is dust; the hospital, the equipment they put there are not supposed to take dust, they don’t last long with dust.
"When the roads are good everywhere is accessible. This is just the beginning we want to see many more road networks in this country after all what is leadership if your people are poor and suffering? It doesn’t mean anything.”
Public Works Minister Samuel Woods said the pavement of Voinjama City marks the beginning of a more ambitious plan to end the dust nightmare on the the Gbarnga, Menokarma highway.
Liberia is said to be flirting with the Kuwaiti government who have reportedly requested a cost estimate I’ve told the people that within the next three for the project. Minister Woods said experts and engineers are currently measuring the area and is expected to make a report shortly.
“They should give me an idea of how much it cost so we can start raising the money. The president and the vice president are working very hard to find that money to get the job done.”
Minister Woods hailed the effort of former Finance Minister now Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Ngafuan who was instrumental in sealing the funding for the team undertake the study for the highway.
Pressuring contractors for good roads
Minister Woods says his ministry is pressuring contractors to deliver a durable and quality road for the people of Voinjama.
“Voinjama loves development and so we know it very well. Today, we are here to make history."
"The roads must be quality roads; the roads must be good roads, the streets must last long, so we must be on the backs of the contractors and make sure that it is done well. I must make sure that we have good drainage and because this is a city, we must put good sidewalks.
"This minister of public works will not do small job and we will not do a small job for Voinjama city; we will not do small job in this administration for the first city that is being paved. Right now we have two companies that are measuring the cost of the Gbarnga-Menokarma.”
Minister Woods paid homage also to Liberian contractors Westwood who have been credited for the rehab of quality feeder roads in not only Lofa but in Nimba and Gbarnga as well.
“If we want to build this country, we want to support this economy we have to help Liberian contractors and I am happy that over the years working with them, progress is being made."
"If you look on this road now coming to Voinjama, it was done by a Liberian contractor, Westwood. They have done work in Gbarnga and Nimba and which is making it more accessible for people to commute.
The minister also lauded Ecobank for agreeing to partner with local contractors to pre-finance various road projects. “Several of our feeder roads, Liberian contractors are working on them, we will continue to encourage the Liberian government to create an infrastructure fund with our banks to give them low interest financing so they can be able to go there, get money and work on our roads and deliver because they will do well with our investment and Liberia will prosper. So we need to support them very well.”
The minister told the district that he will work to ensure that local residents are recruited to work and earn pay during the construction of the paved Voinjama city.
“We want our youths, we want our women, we want our men to be employed on this project. But not just be part of it but they must also be able to develop skills; skills that will serve them for the future, that is what we are looking for because it will benefit them for the future."
"So I urge you contractor to take heed to that, make sure they are involved, make sure they are part of the process but make sure they will acquire the skills required for them to contribute to Liberia’s development."
"The money that we spend here must trigger down to ordinary Liberians, let them feel the benefit of the money, let them know that the government is investing so that they can benefit. So we must do that and do that very well.’
Voinjama road pavement will add to existing three other cities which have paved roads: Robertsport, the Capital of Grand Cape Mount, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County and Harper, Maryland County.
In addition to the pavement of Voinjama, the ministry has been heavily involved in a number of feeder road projects include the Voinjama-Barkedu(24.5km); Salayea-Zolowo(16.0km); Voinjama-Kurbemai(13.1km); Tanu Monia-Dorbor-Bazagizia(16.35km); Borkeza-Kpasagizia(18.9km); Voinjama-Jalamai(18.2km)Voinjama-Bolongolidu(16.4km); Lawalazu-Vezela/Miami(13.4); Makesu-Fassawalazu(12.7km) and Zolowu-Makesu(12.7km).
Similar projects have also been undertaken in Bong and they include: the Makpoh Hill-Gbansue Sulomah(15.5km); Gboye-Kankalanta(22km); Totota-Piata Bridge(8.2km); Phebe-Gbonota(31.6km) and Gwainyea-Cow farm(14.65km).
The initiative is contributing immensely to the Poverty Reduction Strategy in Liberia by ensuring sustainable road access in targeted communities in Lofa, Bong, Nimba counties that will enhance livelihood potentials primarily in the agriculture sector.
The project aims to rehabilitate 500 km of roads by 2014, increase government’s feeder road management capacity, increase community participation in feeder road rehab and maintenance and community awareness on impacts of HIV/AIDS and negative environmental activities.
|Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 07:45|