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Finance Minister: ‘Hillside bypass road is one of the most expensive roads’

June 10, 2016 By Jariatu S, Bangura

Minister of Finance and Economic Development has told Members of Parliament that phase two of the Hillside bypass road – Jomo Kenyatta Road to Blackhall Road, which is 3.7km) is one of the most expensive roads in the country.

The agreement for the project was signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development on 24th May, 2016.

The contract was awarded to Companie Salhelinnie D’Enterprise (CSE) in April 2010, with the first phase of the road from Jomo Kenyatta Road to Upper Mountain Cut, covering a distance of 1.5 kilometres, having been substantially completed, leaving only minimal additional works such as drainages and sidewalks, which are yet to be completed since 2014.

Speaking during his presentation for the ratification of the loan agreement, Momodu Kargbo revealed that if not for the importance of the road, he would not have signed an amount of Le20 million for less than three miles or even five miles.

“It is one of the most expensive roads I have signed as Minister of Finance; Le20 million for a road construction less than 3 miles is costly or even 5 miles. I only signed it due to the explanation given by the consultant that the road is very rocky and difficult to work, which I understood, and base on the fact that it is very important for the development of the country and that of reducing the hug traffic rate at Kissy Road, that was why I signed it,” he explained.

Minister Kargbo stated that phase one of the road was now open to traffic, thus significantly improving on traffic flow linking Berry Street with Fourah Bay College, and Upper Mountain Cut.

He said the second phase of the project would start from Bambara Spring and end at Bai Bureh Road in the eastend of the city. The economic and social importance of the Hillside bypass road to the development of the country cannot be overemphasised as it is a relatively high speed road designed to ease congestion and traffic delays along Kissy Road, he asserted.

He said the maturity period of the loan is 24 years, inclusive of a four year grace period, with interest rate of 2.0% per annum.

Hon. Dickson Rogers urged his colleagues not to sign the loan agreement because according to the minister it was one of the most expensive roads in the country, adding that funds should be used instead to construct feeder roads project leading to the Bo-Bandajuma road or support agricultural business farmers.

However, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chernoh Bah argued that the loan agreement should be ratified because being expensive meant that the road would be very important to citizens.

“The hillside bypass road, being one of the most expensive roads is true, but nothing is expensive when it is needed for anyone, therefore there is need for the construction of that road and the loan should and must be ratified as it is important,” he said.

He cautioned stakeholders to do something about the makeshift market stalls at Model Junction, which used to link to FBC, adding “even though the consultant of CSE did state that because of the high speed way of the road it should not be used anymore in order to reduce accident rates by vehicles and road users, I see no reason why trading should take place there.”

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