Representative Tarponweh Raises Red Flag over Slow Works on RIA Road Expansion Project
Margibi County – Representative Tibelrosa Summoh Tarponweh of Margibi-Electoral District #1 has expressed grave concern over the slow pace of work which is being carried out on the expansion of the Robert International Airport Road.
By Emmanuel K. Tokpah, Contributing Writer
Rep. Tarponweh, in his communication to the Plenary of the House of Representatives said since the only international airport road expansion and pavement contract was awarded to the East International Company, little work has been done on the road, especially with the absence of adequate equipment to expeditiously implement the project.
The Margibi County District#1 Lawmaker alarmed the increase in death rate along the route, traffic congestion and the hardship commuters face while plying the airport highway.
“Mr. Speaker and colleagues, it shall prick your curiosity that since the awarding of the contract to East Construction Company, very little is known or heard about the construction of this all important international corridor that provides access to the Country’s Capital,” he said.
He continued: “People who drive on that road are inconvenient for hours. People cannot get home on time. The critically ills are losing their lives. This is becoming a concern.
Requesting for the acting Public Works Minister’s appearance to provide status report on the road expansion project, the Margibi County Legislative Caucus Chairperson added: “This body [House’s Plenary] is positioned to bring this issue to a closure. Mr. Speaker, Honorable Deputy Speaker and my illustrious Colleagues, in view of the facts and circumstances, I crave the indulgence of this August Body to invite before this Plenary, the Acting Minister of Public Works to provide an update on the status of this ELWA-RIA road corridor as contracted to East Construction Company by the Government of Liberia”.
Following the intense deliberation of Representative Tarponweh’s communication during Tuesday’s Session, the House’s Plenary concluded to send the communication to its Committee on Public Works.
On February 20, 2020, there were lots of jubilations and excitements from many Liberians as they witnessed President George M. Weah broke ground for the expansion and pavement of the Robert International Airport Road corridor, valued at US$94.5 million.
But on the flipside of the coin after the Government of Liberia awarded the contract to East Construction Company, there have been multiple concerns about the contracting company’s ability to properly implement the multimillion dollars’ project, especially with the company having tainted performance record.
With less machinery, equipment and funding yet to be detailed and explained remain a major doubt lingering on the minds of many Liberians.
Information gathered has unveiled that the East International Construction Company has failed to perform on a number of projects including a pre-financing agreement with the Government of Liberia in 2017 to pave 30 feeder roads as part of the Feeder Road Project across Liberia. Several feeder roads projects contracted to East Construction Company still remain uncompleted.
The East International Construction Company is said to be a joint venture of Liberians and Chinese, but the company has maneuvered its way in getting large contracts because of the company’s contacts with senior officials at the Ministry of Public Works.
Many Liberians have gone public expressing concerns over the RIA-Monrovia highway project. With the level of resentments from the public about East International Construction Company, the Ministry of Public Works remains tight-lipped on the issue which has raised fear that like previous situations, the contract for the expansion and pavement of Liberia’s only international airport road will eventually become a failed one.
But Representative Tarponweh vowed to press on as the only international airport road is a death trap and a national embarrassment.