Liberia: Stench Greets Passengers at New Airport Terminal; US$55M Construction Under Scrutiny

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Monrovia – Barely two months after President George Manneh Weah open the doors of the new, modern, US$50 million Roberts International Airport Terminal, the escalator went down. Now, passengers completing immigration process are being greeted with a strong stench in the receiving hall as they make their way to collect their baggage from the carousel. 


Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]


The source? Recently-constructed restrooms, now unusable due to what one source told FrontPageAfrica is the result of a strong odor and smell of urine dominating the hallways from the bathrooms now blocked from public use.

Probable Cause of Stench? ‘Improper Ventilation’

The stench is due to improper ventilation and probable no master traps in the restrooms at the RIA 

Adolphus Mcccritty, Chief Executive Officer at Mccritty, McCritty & Christel-Architects Engineers Consultants and Managing Partner/Chief Architect at Design Builders Consultancy, Inc explained to FrontPageAfrica that the stench is due to improper ventilation and probable no master traps in the restrooms. 

“Every sanitary sewer line and waste line has to be ventilated,” the architect says.

The cost of the terminal construction has baffled many skeptics who have been drawing a comparison with other similar constructions in Liberia. 

For example, the giant ministerial complex cost US$55million while the airport terminal’s cost is put at US$50 million. One source told FrontPageAfrica recently that because the terminal was built by loan, it is possible that big kickbacks were involved. 

“The Ministerial Complex was built by China Aid so no Ellen Government official was involved. See the difference?”

In October 2016, the Governments of Liberia and the Chinese EXIM Bank signed a landmark loan agreement to refurbish the runway and the Terminal of the RIA project in the amount of US$50 million. The loan agreement constitutes the relationship between Liberia and China over the years. 

“These things are so very basic; it behooves me that the engineers at MPW would not know this. I am guessing the same will eventually happen at the Ministerial Complex, and the Wing extensions at the Capitol Building. I cannot figure how they built the Complex and not figure out how the Domestic Water Supply will serve the Buildings.”

– Adolphus McCrity, Veteran Liberian Engineer

The new terminal dedicated in July was constructed of steel and glass and financed by a loan from the China Exim Bank while the construction was undertaken by the China Harbour Engineering Company, beginning in 2016.

The passenger terminal was designed to process approximately 350,000 to 500,000 passengers annually, the LAA release noted.

The terminal has two jet bridges, two escalators, two elevators, ten check-in counters, two baggage carousels, a large immigration facility, a water treatment plant and a power substation on the outside. It also has a two-gate car park and several other features in the courtyard.

With passengers complaining about the odor and rapidly deteriorating terminal, Mccritty wonders why engineers and contractors missed such a key component. 

Pointing to a diagram he says shows how to properly vent Sanitary Sewer lines, the architect says, they should have been included in the set of Drawing for the Terminal building for which the Ministry of Public Works said they reviewed and approved and supervised. “Chances are they did not understand the drawings well or else flags would have been raised.”

Adds Mccritty: “These things are so very basic; it behooves me that the engineers at MPW would not know this. I am guessing the same will eventually happen at the Ministerial Complex, and the Wing extensions at the Capitol Building. I cannot figure how they built the Complex and not figure out how the Domestic Water Supply will serve the Buildings.”

Mccritty says there has to be a vent stack min. 2″ diameter  between each toilet and a face basin. “Anything short of this, the bad odor aka natural gas would filtrate through the drain outlet on the basins. This would give the entire area a very bad odor as is being experienced in the bathroom at the terminal.”

No Cheap Fix, Architect says

While authorities have blocked passengers from using the restrooms due to the strong odor, Mccritty says the problem can be resolve but would be costly. “There is absolutely No cheap fix for this as the pipes would have to be up-rooted and re-done with the proper vent stacks.”

The increase number of issues arising since the terminal was opened in July is renewing concerns that authorities may have rushed to open the terminal without properly testing all the key facilities to avoid what is unfolding in recent days.

Business class travelers have also complained about the lack of a workable Air Conditioner in the departure hall, making the lounge unusable for many unable to stand the heat.

For the foreseeable future, what was supposed to spur economic growth and increase air traffic and capacity for more flights, has now become a US$50 million whodunnit for Liberia amid lingering and unanswered questions as to how those responsible for the construction doled out the cash for the construction of the new terminal now posing serious embarrassment for Liberia and uneasiness for travelers.

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