It feels more of transforming from a dream into reality. The Roberts International Airport (RIA) Highway will be developed into a four-lane corridor evidenced by the groundbreaking ceremony slated for Thursday, according to the Executive Mansion.
Presidential Press Secretary I. Solo Kelgbeh told reporters Tuesday that expansion and construction works on the ELWA Junction-RIA route, have been called to action by President George Weah.
The 44-kilometer highway currently has two opposite lanes which people say pose risk to lives due to its busy nature. It’s unclear how long it will take to be complete, and how much it will cost, but Kelgbeh said details will be unveiled during the groundbreaking event.
Moreover, funding towards it would be a combination of both domestic resources from the government and financial assistance from international partners in grants or loans, through the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund, Public Works Minister Mobutu Nyenpan had said.
Improving the highway has been one endeavor citizens have longed for, owing to the value of that road which primarily links their country to the rest of the world via the international airport.
President Weah and his vice, Jewel Howard-Taylor, together with other government officials are expected to attend the groundbreaking ceremony in the Airport area at about 12:00 noon on Thursday.
It’s been unfortunate for many decades that motor accidents would occur on the RIA Highway often leading to casualties. The problem can be compounded by the lack of streetlights along the route as well as the lack of regular monitoring of drivers’ speed limits by the police.
In May last year, however, the government disclosed plan to electrify the Monrovia-RIA Corridor under the Liberia Energy Efficiency and Access Project.
To that end, the Liberia Electricity Corporation CEO, Paschal Buckley, said that the lighting up of said road will change the perception of people when they visit Liberia for the first time.
Also in 2019, officials of the Ministry of Public and international consultants took President Weah on a guided tour of the RIA road, a journey which seems to be bearing tangible fruits.
Notwithstanding, residents whose structures fall within the perimeters of the highway are being marked “Removed” have doubt about the imminent demolition exercise. Usually, those with legitimate claims would benefit from the Relocation Action Plan (RAP) funds often provided by the government and World Bank Group, but the process can be quite bureaucratic.
But the good news is that, President Weah had since instructed Public Works Minister Nyenpan to oversee a “light demolition” which is like being discrete in the exercise in order not just to save government money, but also to bring relief to folks with structures that can be, at least, considered.