MONROVIA: Public Works Minister-designate, Madam Ruth Coker Collins, has disclosed that, Ganta to Yekepa 67km road Project in Nimba County which constitutes the pavement of the road from Ganta to Yekepa road project financed through ArcelorMittal and the Government of Liberia is nearing completion.
She said at present, the project is at about 71% completion rate with works ongoing between Ganta and Sanniquellie.
She added that road works activities are ongoing with the accomplishments clearing, 100%; subgrade, 85.7%; Subbase, 78.1% and Drainage structures, 79.5%. Madam Coker-Collins added that base course placement is now 56.1% complete while asphalt binder course is 44.3%.
It can be recalled that on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, President Weah appointed Madam Ruth Coker Collins as the proper Minister of Public Works.
She had served as acting Public Works Minister since she replaced the late Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan who served in the capacity from 2018 to 2020.
Her statement was contained in her presentation to the Liberian Senate through its Committee on Public Works and Rural Development on the occasion marking the her confirmation hearing for the position of Minister of Public Works on Friday, June 3, 2022 at the Capitol Building.
According to her, compensation to Project Affected Persons (PAPs) is 95% completed on 37out of 67km. She noted that the overall progress of works to date is 70.5%. She stressed that the project is experiencing significant delay in implementation due to the late availability of AML contribution, which, according to the signed financial MOU between GOL and AML, should have been effective upon contract signature in July 2015. It was only in July 2018 that AML financing was accessed.
The Public Works Minister designate noted that, AML confirmed only US$40 million allocation to the Project. She stated that the required cost of the project is US$52.0 million, excluding CPA, estimated at US$3.2m; and RAP of US$0.9m.
At the same time, Minister Coker-Collins said Ganta to Saclepea 39km road Project in Nimba County which constitutes the pavement of the road from Ganta to Saclepea is financed solely by the Government of Liberia.
She told Senate Committee on Public Works and Rural Development that, Contract assigned with CICO on December 2, 2020, on the same day as the official groundbreaking ceremony of the GOL financed section at Ganta.
Minister Coker-Collins also said detail design of the entire 39km road is completed and Compensation to Project Affected Persons (PAPs) is 95%completed while road works activities are ongoing with the clearing, 100%; subgrade, 45%; Subcase, 29% and drainage structures, 81.2%base course placement which commenced during last week of March 2022, is now 25% complete while asphalt binder course is 13% on course.
Minister Coker-Collins indicated that the Ministry of Public Works, like other line ministries, is a cabinet level Ministry in the Executive Branch of Government first legislated as the Department of Works in 1928 and subsequently enacted in to law by an Act of the National Legislature in 1972 as the Ministry of Public Works with a revised and expanded mandate.
She emphasized that, Ministry’s primary mandate as prescribed in the Act is design, construct and maintain public infrastructure, formulate and supervise construction contracts, formulate and ensure compliance with acceptable engineering and architectural standards register and issue certificates to construction companies and contractors operating in Liberia, and review, certify and issue construction permits and other relevant permits and administer urban planning and zoning and land use activities.
According to her, prior to providing briefing on where we are with our road development, it is important to note that the emphasis will be on Primary or Major Roads with in the Country.
The Public Works Minister designate said these roads are defined by the Ministry as road connections between County Capitals and major roads in urban areas.
She further stated that as per the Road Inventory Survey done by the Ministry in 2019, the Country has a total road network of approximately 13,026km and out of this, only about 7% (907km) of the road network is paved while 93% is unpaved (11,760km).
“More besides, Primary roads constitute about 18% (2,323km) of the entire road network, of which, only 5% (617km) of the primary or major roads are paved and 13% (1,707km) are unpaved” she said.
Minister Coker-Collins also said additionally, about 36% (836km) of the Primary or major roads are in good condition, 52% (1,208km) in fair, poor & bad conditions; while only 12% (278km) are in excellent condition. She added that there has been major achievements done on our urban & feeder roads.
Commenting on the progress and achievement, Minister Coker-Collins said that, during the reporting period, they diligently discharged the functions and responsibilities entrusted to them by President George M. Weah as Acting Minister, Minister, hence leading to the achievement of immense and significant progress in the infrastructure sector of the Country, primarily road infrastructure.
Minister Coker-Collins also noted that, in order to align the performance of the Office of the Acting Minister to the overall objective and structure of the MPW, these road projects are basically either financed directly through the national budget/NRF (PSIP) and other financing mechanism like bilateral and multinational institutions like the World Bank, African Development Bank, Arab Donors, EU, European Investment Bank (EIB), etc.
“For the period under review, there were several projects that were stalling and have made significant progress under the oversight responsibility, the Acting Minister’ said.
She named some of the road projects as Gbarnga to Salayea, Sanniquellie to Logatuo, Ganta to Sacleapea, Sacleapea to Tappita, Ganta to Yekepa, Fish Town to Karloken, Johnsonville to Mt. Barclay, Pipeline to Johnsonville Road, etc.
Minister Coker-Collins said these interventions, when completed, will see the rehabilitation and pavement of additional 505.4km four major road, thereby taking our primary or major paved road from the current 23% (546km) to 45% (1051.4km) out of a total primary road network of 2,323.4km.