June 9, 2020
By Joseph S. Margai (Strategic Communications Coordinator, Office of the President)
Authorities of the Ministry of Works and Public Assets (MWPA) and Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), which is one of the ministry’s agencies, have on Thursday, 4th June, 2020, conducted an inspection tour on the Wellington-Masiaka Road, which is currently being constructed by the China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG).
Minister of Works and Public Assets, Peter Bayuku Konteh, thanked the authorities of CRSG for their contributions toward the fight against COVID-19 and told them that the road is very important to the government which was why under the “New Direction” administration, all agreements within the contracts are going to be strictly followed, noting that in the contract, three market centers should be constructed in Hastings, Waterloo and Masiaka.
Similarly, he said, a training camp for Sierra Leonean youth should be constructed, amongst others.
The minister, who had gone there to know the progress made so far including the challenges that CRSG faces, urged the authorities of the latter to complete the work before Christmas of 2020.
He said in the “New Direction” government, whenever the contractors say to construct one kilometre road costs US$1m, they would not come back to the people and tell them that the road cost US$4m.
“We are not in power to enrich ourselves. All the roads we are constructing are of good quality. We are better than our predecessors in this regard,” he said.
SLRA’s Deputy Director General, Engineer Abdulai Ansumana, said the project, has three phases, adding that Phase I and III are of urban design which include covered side drains and pedestrian walkways, and Phase II is of highway design, which does not have the features of an urban design.
He said the road, which would have been completed in April 2020 but delayed because of the sudden emergency of COVID-19, is 70 percent complete.
CRSG’s Project Manager in charge of Wellington-Masiaka Highway Project, Jiang said currently, the safety of both commuters and vehicles has been improved while traffic congestion has been reduced.
However, he mentioned that the construction exercise has been delayed because of the payment of compensation to property owners, relocation of fiber optic cables, COVID-19, amongst others, adding that since COVID-19, they have been receiving materials for the work from China very late.
Jiang said their income generation from the tollgates has been very low as a result of COVID-19, noting that many heavy-duty trucks bye-pass the tollgates even though they have reduced the cost of the tollgate for a period of 90 days.
Head of the Ceremonial Chiefs in Koya Chiefdom, in the Port Loko District, North-Western Sierra Leone, Chief Komrabai Kargbo, thanked the government of President Julius Maada Bio for ensuring that compensations were being paid to property owners along the road without any problem.