Monrovia – Commuters and motorists using various downtown Monrovia routes lately are running into unusual traffic congestions as engineers from the Ministry of Public Works undertake yet another patch-up job of filling up potholes in segments of the city.
Report by Edwin Genoway, Jr. – [email protected]
The problem for many is why?
“Can you imagine almost all of the big government officials use this road to escape traffic, but yet still they cannot fix it” – Patience Johnson, Student, PHP Community
Multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that authorities wrongly used coal tar to fill in potholes in some parts of the city in the middle of the raining season.
In less than two weeks however, the holes were popping up again.
Monrovia’s main streets have become the scene of annual hassle for motorists especially during the raining season.
At least six months out of the year, it’s raining in Liberia, contributing to horrible road conditions of roads which is increasing the challenges facing the ruling Unity Party (UP) government, nearing the end of its second term in office.
Liberians have been yearning for roads, safe-drinking water and electricity with mixed results.
While the government has made some efforts in solving some of the challenges, the problems persist.
The government has also provided electricity to some parts of Monrovia, but roads construction remains a challenge for residents.
In recent months, some Liberians have expressed dismay over the deplorable condition of roads in the city.
From the UN Drive to Matadi, Fiama and the Somalia Drive areas, complaints have been piling up.
Samson Kula, a taxi driver who normally runs from Central Monrovia to Sinkor Airfield explains that he deliberately avoids the Fiamah to Matadi route due to deplorable road conditions.
“I cannot use that road from 20th Street to Matadi any longer because I don’t want my car under carrier to spoil. When I take my Airfield passengers I can pass through 24th Street and then to Matadi; but if that road was good, I could just take my space from town straight to Matadi using the Fiamah side,” Kula explained.
Hawa Jallah, a local beautician in the Fiamah community, too is unhappy with the conditions of the road.
Hawa says the mud from the road is embarrassing her shop as vehicles flash dirty water from the bad road on her business center.
“I have painted my salon more than three times this year, I think you can see for yourself the way the road is bad. When a car passes, it flashes red mud water on the walls of my salon. In a month’s time when you see this salon, you will think I am digging gold or diamonds here,” she explained in anger.
Hawa laments that the Minister of Public Works Mr. Gyude Moore normally drive by the road and is aware of the problems. ”We can see the Public Works minister himself passing this road and even wasting the same dirty water on my shop; Yes I know him well and I know his car, he always using this road to go to Matadi, but he has refused to send his men here to reduce the mud,” she says.
While others are expressing disappointment about the bad roads condition in the city, other residents disagree.
Some like Junior Massaquoi, a commercial biker who runs from 20th Street Sinkor to Matadi route and other parts of Sinkor, are capitalizing on the bad roads to make a profit.
He says he is happy with the road condition but believes only the bad roads can help him generate enough money including his daily LD$500 report. He says where commercial cars cannot go due to the bad roads, their bikes can reach. “We the young people have not benefited anything from this government, so with the way the road looking it is helping most of us the pehn-pehn riders because taxi drivers are afraid to use that road,”
Massaquoi continues: “All of the passengers who are living Fiamah can normally get down at 20th Street to use bike and get home, and we can take them to their various homes in Fiamah using our motorbikes, but if that road is fixed, we will not make money because all of the cars will be using that road to go Fiamah.”
Quizzed whether he was against development for his own benefit, Massaquoi says he is not.
“It is the government that is against our progress because they took us from the main road and brought us to place that we can’t make money; the only thing that helping us here are the Fiamah passengers who get down on 20th street and use bike to go home.”
At the UN Drive, some residents complain that the road connecting the Executive Mansion to the US Drive through the PHP is one of the main roads that commercial cars use when there is huge traffic.
Patience Johnson, a student residing in the PHP Community is not happy with road. “Can you imagine almost all of the big government officials use this road to escape traffic, but yet still they cannot fix it.”
Rancy Dorbor, another resident of the UN Drive Community is appealing to the government to double efforts in the roads construction in order to meet up with international standards.
“Look at countries like Ghana, Nigeria, and even Guinea next door. Go there and look at how they are improving their road networks; but we are here patching roads whole day,” he noted
Amid the complaints, officials at the Ministry of Public Works lament that they too are facing significant budget constraints complicating their efforts to ease road woes and cut down the number of potholes across the city.
The Ministry has adopted and re-established MPW asphalt teams, imported cold mix asphalt and is in the middle of running trial manufacturing of its own cold mix as well as repairing all potholes in Monrovia.
Jesefu Keita, Communication Director at the ministry, says the ministry is only patching the roads because of the raining season.
Says Keita: “On some of our roads, we will use concrete with limited maintenance. Concrete roads will last up to 50 years (Harper City provides an example). To allow us to work even in the rainy season, one of our engineers, Dave Slewion proposed a method from Asia.
Why not build a moveable cover to shield the work from the rain and put a tarp on the side to shield it from the wind,” he explained.
Keita cited the Redemption Hospital road, one of the few roads constructed during the regime of former President Charles Taylor, with concrete cement. Now the Ministry says it is giving the road a facelift in the middle of the raining season, to the dismay of many unsure how long the patch-patch fix will last.