Newly Dedicated Monrovia-Gbarnga Road Named After Traditional Chief
Gbarnga, Bong County – President Ellen Johnson sirleaf has dedicated and named the Monrovia-Gbarnga highway after one of Liberia historical chiefs, Suakoko.
Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]
Suakoko, a legendary female Paramount Chief in Bong County, is revered for her role in galvanizing natives of her land to support the expansion and integration of Liberia into the hinterland.
The road is 176 kilometer long costing government more than US$100 million, funded by the World Bank and was implemented by the Chinese construction company China Chongqing Construction Corporation (CICO).
The contract has an 11-year-eight-month tenure, with a four-year-eight-months rehabilitation phase and a seven-year routine maintenance, including with a periodic maintenance in the ninth year.
At a colorful program held in the Gbarnga Administrative Building, President Sirleaf said the road was named after Suakoko to reflect her legacy of unity and integration, adding that her legacy was epitomized by the fact that the facility runs through three counties.
“By the tradition when we dedicated other projects we named after [someone from the county]. This particular road covers three counties so we are not going to name it after someone from any of these counties so I am going to call this the Suakoko Road,” the President said at the dedicatory ceremony on Wednesday.
Suakoko, the President said, hailed from Bong County but was an exception to her naming tradition because Suakoko transcended local legend to national immortality.
She proposed a street fundraising rally for the pavement of streets in Gbarnga.
For his part Public Works Minister Gyude Moore commended the National Legislature for passing into law the National Road Fund Act that calls for 60 percent of funds collected to be used for maintaining existing roads, while 40 percent goes to the development of new roads.
He recognized the presence of Senator Henry Yallah as the new chair on the Senate Public Works Committee, who replaced Senator Oscar Cooper and Representative Edward Forh Chair on Public Works Committee House of Representatives.
“Since 1847 all the administrations combined, this administration has paved more roads and we are not going to stop,” bragged Minister Moore.
“This is part of the President’s yearly road construction program.”
He disclosed the government of Liberia would in a few months launch the Fish Town-Harper road construction and said feasibilities were currently ongoing on the Ganta-Tapitta-Zwedru road.
Minister Moore promised that government would be intervening on the road leading to southeastern Liberia by mid next year, but warned that physical barriers would be built on the roadside to prevent cars that should not be plying those roads because they create danger.
However, the road has not been completed and there is a detour at the 15th Gate portion of the road as the result of a landslide.
Roads, ports and energy (infrastructure) are a key pillar in President Sirleaf’s Agenda for Transformation, a promising outshoot of the wider Vision 2030, which she hopes will add to her legacy as Africa’s first female president.
The dedication of the Red Light-Gbarnga Road means that the government has paved more than 425 kilometres of roads.
“I encourage you to drive from Coca Cola Factory to Gbarnga, from Fishtown to Harper (not yet finished), from Kakata to Bong Mines, from Ganta to Yekepa, and for the first time to the Guinea border,” President Sirleaf told lawmakers in this year’s State of the Nation Address in January.
“In Monrovia and around Monrovia, please drive from Duport to Parker Paint, drive on the Neezoe Road or the AB Tolbert Road; drive along the SKD Boulevard or the Tubman Boulevard or along our various avenues.
“It is also easier, smoother and safer to travel from Monrovia to the Mount Coffee Hydro through Caldwell – thanks to the recently completed and dedicated Jacob Samuel Melton Bridge. See for yourselves the progress we have all made together,” she said.
The President said that feasibility studies were concluded for most of the inter-county roads, including the entire Gbarnga to Mendekorma Road for which financing has been concluded for the first phase.
“In eighteen months we expect to have several of the neighborhood roads of the capital city paved.
It is expected that the Freeport to Redlight road, including the Stockton Creek Bridge, now under construction will be completed.
Arrangements have already been concluded to start, within this period, the second phase which will result in a four-lane road we have planned.”
She said studies were also ongoing or near completion to expand the ELWA Junction to Coca Cola Factory, Ganta to Zwedru, Zwedru to Fish Town, Buchanan to Greenville, Barclayville to Pleebo and Sanniquellie to Cote d’Ivoire.