Sunday, 3 April 2011

New Face-Fish Town-Harper Road Jumpstart

 New Face-Fish Town-Harper Road Jumpstart
 Companies deploy Heavy Equipment and Manpower

Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods says realities on the ground will vindicate him as the Fish Town-Harper road gets transformed into a quality all-weather road. During a field interview conducted with journalists and MPW Communications and Documentation staff, the Works Minister said the negative comments from critics and cynics regarding his work in general and the Fish Town-Harper highway in particular has further challenged him to continue to serve the Government and people of Liberia with a re-invigorated mind and the commitment to always do better and remain upright whether in the midst of controversy or otherwise.

Minister Woods made the comment while inspecting on-going work along the Fish Town–Harper road. The statement was in apparent response to the rousing welcome the Minister and his entourage touring south-eastern Liberia continue to receive from towns and villages situated along the way to Harper, Maryland County as well as the numerous commendations that the MPW delegation has received from officials and employees of the Liberian government; most of whom used the road being re-conditioned to proceed to Harper  and other parts of the southeast in order to participate in the cabinet retreat  held in Barclayville City on Friday, April 1, 2011.

From all indications, the once deplorable road has taken a different shape with a huge reduction in travelling time and its associated corresponding fares as compared to what it used to be wherein travellers took about two weeks to a month to get from Fish Town in River Gee to Harper in Maryland with continuous hike in transportation cost.

On both sides of the Gee River Bridge, CHICO and SSF engineers and workers along with fleets of road building equipment were seen carrying out various kinds of earthworks including clearing, grubbing, widening, leveling and shaping of the road. Two of the most critical spots on the Fish Town side; pictures of which became synonymous with failure and popular with some media institutions in recent years have been fully re-conditioned beyond recognition.

These were areas that dwarfed trucks and totally swallowed smaller vehicles but CHICO’s men working day and night have changed things around and a transport car no matter how small can now cruise through these previously rough terrains and reach for instance Harper in time with absolutely no headache and discomfort.
As for SSF, a company that started one month after CHICO’s commencement on Lot-1, it has divided its total workforce into three shifts and has a supervisory team at every major point from Gee River Bridge to Harper. Furthermore, major critical areas that might posed a threat as we approach the rainy season are being vigorously tackled by specialized team while the rest of the company’s staff are deployed along the route doing other kinds of work.

While inspecting the road, the MPW Communications and Documentation team in conjunction with few independent journalists travelling with the Minister and delegation spoke with several beneficiaries along the Fish Town-Harper road; many of whom termed the road rehabilitation venture as being long overdue but were quick to commend the Government of Liberia (GoL)/African Development Bank (ADB) for this bold developmental step with a lady interviewee adding that the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) has indeed achieved its desired objective as far as infrastructural development is concerned.

From all indications, it is indeed clear that both companies are locked in a psychologically-competitive battle when it comes to building as well as delivering quality road on or before the project completion date of 30th June 2011.One community resident who work for one of the companies and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the competition between CHICO and SSF is so intense that each morning before commencing work, their supervisors conduct lecture sessions at which time they are told that if they should remain working with the company, then they must do everything possible to perform qualitatively and be able to complete the project by June 2011 as by doing this will lead to more contracts from the government and other partners in the country’s road sector.

It can be recalled that following a rigorous bidding process which became politicized at one point by certain unsuccessful bidders and their extended godfathers; the Government of Liberia and African Development Bank through the Ministry of Public Works finally contracted the services of CHICO in December 2010 and SSF in January 2011, to rehabilitate and upgrade the Fish Town-Harper road to an all-weather laterite road by June 2011. The road is 130Km long and has been divided into lot-1 and lot-2 for timely procurement and work purposes.