December 9, 2019
Despite numerous challenges in carrying out construction work on the sea face defense wall and the township roads in Bonthe Island, Deputy Mayor of the Bonthe Municipal Council has told pressmen that he is highly impressed with the work of First Tricon Ltd.
A team of journalists last week Thursday travelled to the Island of Bonthe on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the progress of the construction work on the sea face wall and the township roads of the Island-home of President Julius Maada Bio. The contract to construct the sea face defense wall was awarded in December 2018 to First Tricon Ltd.
Speaking to journalists, the deputy mayor, Mohamed Robinson expressed gratitude to President Bio for bringing development to the Island which he said has been abandoned over the years due to what he referred to as political reason.
He commended the company’s management that they have been very much transparent in their operations since they were awarded the contract to construct the sea face wall and the township roads.
“The company is very open to us and we are highly impressed with their work. We are aware of the challenges they are faced with, especially the transportation of materials from the mainland to the Island,” he said.
He said before now, the Island used to be flooded during the rains but that such is now a thing of the past since work on the Sea Face Defense Wall commenced.
Project Manager for First Tricon, Tony Utomi,told journalists that the company has all it takes, including the machinery; workforce and the technical ability to complete the work come July 2020.
He said the sea face wall is about 1.2 Kilometre and that they have done a major part of the work, despite the challenges.
He said the sea face defense wall is to prevent erosion and flooding which used to happen before and that the wall would last for over one hundred years based on the quality of the work, adding that they are using local materials and British standards to do the construction work.
He said aside from the quality of the work, the design would attract tourism and investment at the Island of Bonthe.
He said one of the challenges they are faced with as a company was the access to sand to carry out work on the sea face wall and the township roads.
He said initial sand search indicated an abundance of sand from about 100m from seaface-line but that they later discovered that sand deposit is just a thin layer over the deep deposit of mud.
He said after several unsuccessful trials, they resolved to engaging a team of expert from Nigeria to carry out a more thorough investigation, adding that they procured a 12’x12’ Dredger to deliver sand to Murphy’s Island.
He said to enhance the production of sand they purchased and installed a booster that augments the work of the dredger.
He cited transportation of materials from Keiga to Bonthe as the major challenge they are faced with as a company.
He said they use over 680 littres of fuel for the Barge to transport materials and heavy duty equipment including vehicles from Keiga to Bonthe Island on a daily basis.
He said they are faced with the challenge posed by nature, where it takes about six (6) hours to travel from the mainland to the Island for a journey that ordinarily will take an hour, due to incidents of head wind and heavy tide
“In addition to the above, the barge will not be able to berth on arrival to Bonthe due to low tide, which prevents on time discharge of goods and materials. In order to deal with this problem, we have decided to procure a Landing Craft that is self-propelled with the ability to cut through ocean tide faster, therefore can work on a 24hrs basis,” he said.
Aside from being used to deliver project materials, the Landing Craft can be deployed for the economic empowerment of the people of Bonthe in line with the Presidential Initiative on economic empowerment.
Work is also in progress on the township roads and the project Manager assured of delivering quality work for the people of Bonthe Island.
Consultant Engineer for the project,Ing.Leutenant Colonel Retired,Emil Dumbuya told journalists that he was there to ensure quality assurance.
Other residents of the Island lauded the work of the company and called on the government to provide the necessary funding to fast track the implementation of the project.