‘Snail-Pace’ of Rehab Works on Bushrod Island Road Imposing Hardship, Constraints On Drivers, Commuters

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Aggrieved commuters and drivers attributed the situation to the ‘snail-pace’ of the ongoing renovation works being carried out, as well as the consistent habit of some Lebanese and Indian business owners to offload their goods from container trucks that are normally packed in the driveway.

Monrovia – Scores of drivers and commuters plying the Bushrod Island road, outside Monrovia continue to experience severe difficulties and hardship due to the prolong delay of the ongoing rehabilitation works on the road by the Ministry of Public Works.

During the early morning hours of Thursday, drivers of commercial and private vehicles as well as tricycles and bike riders were seen in long traffic from Jamaica Road to Vai Town-a situation that prompted bulk of the vehicle occupants to abandon the compulsory nose mask wearing put in place to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in Liberia.

Countless Potholes

The situation also compelled workers, sellers and others to disembark from vehicles, tricycles and motorbikes to trek long distances to reach their respective destinations.

Countless number of potholes that are visible at the National Port Authority (NPA) which is the gateway to the country’s economy, and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) continue to exacerbate traffic congestion on the Bushrod Island. 

Aggrieved commuters and drivers attributed the situation to the ‘snail-pace’ of the ongoing renovation works being carried out, as well as the consistent habit of some Lebanese and Indian business owners to offload their goods from container trucks that are normally packed in the driveway.

They complained of the ‘usual business-as-usual’ habit of authorities of the Ministry of Public Works to commence the rehabilitation of major roads in the country barely few weeks or days to the commencement of the rainy season in Liberia.

“My brother-this is everyday thing. Even tomorrow if you come here, you will see the same thing. The passengers can be too tired more than we the drivers. Some of them can even be sleeping and we can pass by the place they supposed to stop because the traffic can be too long; and they can be tired”.

Armadu Toure, 37, Commuter

Most often, passengers are compelled to busy themselves by turning on their internet data to make use of the social media-Facebook, or play games on their respective smart phones to minimum the stress and boringness they go through as a result of traffic congestion

Armadu Toure, 37, a Guinean is engaged into commercial driving activities in Liberia.

During the early morning hours of Thursday, drivers of commercial and private vehicles as well as tricycles and bike riders were seen in long traffic from Jamaica Road to Vai Town-a situation that prompted bulk of the vehicle occupants to abandon the compulsory nose mask wearing put in place to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in Liberia.

He turned off the engine, disembarked from his blue Almera vehicle and walked few steps away to take a glance of the long traffic ahead of him, leaving his passengers uncomfortable in the already crowded and tight vehicle.

He told FrontPage Africa that the situation is a normal routine that commercial drivers encountered. 

“My brother-this is everyday thing. Even tomorrow if you come here, you will see the same thing. The passengers can be too tired more than we the drivers. Some of them can even be sleeping and we can pass by the place they supposed to stop because the traffic can be too long; and they can be tired”.

Armadu added: “First time when the traffic is huge, we can see police people to all the junctions directing the traffic, but now, we will not see police people here until we reached to Clara Town or Vai Town”.

“Look at this other big hole on car road. You can dump whole big truck of crushed rocks in this hole; it will not even full” a pedestrian stated while walking around the Freeport of Monrovia.

‘Sitting in Traffic’ the norm

Traffic congestion, mainly on the Bushrod Island, continues to negatively affect timeliness at various workplaces.

Most often, government employees and workers of other private and non-governmental organizations arrived at their respective workplaces late as a result of the situation.

Multiple warnings, verbal assaults and sometimes dismissals are the rewards for some of these citizens who arrived at jobs late.

“As you can see, I am walking right now to work because my arrival time is approaching. I can’t be sitting in the traffic until that time. Even though my boss can understand, I will have to show her some respect too by coming to work the time she told me to come” an elderly woman who only identified herself as Agnes stated while walking towards the Gabriel Tucker bridge in Vai Town.

Some employees and others have to procrastinate at their respective homes, entertainment centers or elsewhere to ‘wait for the traffic to reduce or come down’ before leaving for work or home.

Increasing hardship

The current situation of severe traffic congestion occasioned by the ongoing renovation works and multiple potholes is also imposing economic constraints on commuters.

Their eagerness to meet up with an appointment, get to work in a timely manner, or to sell their goods or services before the 6PM lockdown during this state of emergency constrained them to pay exorbitant transportation fares on commercial motorbikes just to reach their destinations in a timely manner.

“From Duala to Broad Street-I normally paid L$150, but I have to pay about L$350 on bike to come here just because I wanted to pick up something from someone on time”, Rebecca Dennis stated while sitting in a tricycle from town to Duala.

Rebecca added: “If I was going to say I want to ride car, or tricycle I was not going to even be in Clara Town by now because up to now, traffic still here”.

Authorities of the Ministry of Public Works have persistently promised to ensure the rehabilitation of major roads in Monrovia and its environs during the dry season in fulfillment of President George Manneh Weah, who has been nicknamed “Bad road Medicine” quest to ensure the construction of several miles of major roads including farm-to-market and neighbourhood roads among others. 

As the rainy season continues to intensity, it remains unclear whether or not deplorable roads around Monrovia and its environs will be reconditioned or rehabilitated by the Ministry of Public Works as citizens and other foreign residents and business owners continue to face enormous constraints as a result of the situation. 

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