LIBERIA: Arcelor Mittal Warns Employees, Partners To Halt Use Of Frail Roberts St. Bridge

BUCHANAN,  (LINA) – The Management of ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) has declared the Roberts Street Bridge in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County a “No-Go-Zone” for its employees and others due to ‘the uncertain condition of the bridge.”

According to ArcelorMittal Corporate Communications official, Amanda Hill, the AML directive dated June 17, 2019 covers the company’ employees, contractors, associates, and partners.

“Experts have determined that the bridge which flies over the AML train tracks is in a perilous condition and its continued use poses a risk to the safety of users, especially drivers of light and heavy vehicles,” the directive emphasized.

The bridge built by former ore mining company, LAMCO, in the 1960s, links the steel giant Mittal to Buchanan and its surroundings.

AML revealed that the situation regarding the condition of the bridge was brought to the attention of Government, local authorities, and other stakeholders, citing that the company has also offered to implement some remedial measures to temporarily reinforce the structure.

The company specified that its swift decision was also triggered by the continuous active use of the bridge by logging and other heavy-duty vehicles, amidst the uncertainty surrounding it.

The measure of Mittal has allowed the enlisted group of targeted people under the company’s influence to begin plying the Own-your-Own road through the Harlandsville Township to access the concession areas of AML.

Whilst the preventive measure is being taken, hundreds of citizens in the Bacconnie Community behind the concession area of Mittal, including the popular Sunset Beach, are caught up in the situation, thus leaving them with huge transportation responsibilities upon using the alternative route identified by ArcelorMittal to access Buchanan City for business transaction, medication and school.

The concession environment known as the Lube also hosts ERA Supermarket and the ECO-Bank Buchanan branch, a place several citizens, including government teachers, access their salaries and carry out other transactions.

Prior to this decision, the company issued a two-week departure notification to the County Health Team and the county authorities for the relocation of the Liberian Government Hospital mini-operation at the Mittal Hospital back to its Kilby Street facility; an action that has taken effect.

Mittal said, while the Government and other authorities are considering their advice and recommendation, the company believes it must act decisively to protect the safety of its employees and other stakeholders, it can influence; leading them to assigning security for the enforcement of the June 17 directive.

When asked, the Public Works Resident Engineer of Grand Bassa, Wilmot Williams, confirmed being part of a joint assessment team that consisted of engineers from Mittal, Public Works, MIA, including other officials of Government and the company; but clarified that the outcome of the assessment is not known by his office.

Earlier in June this year, Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh met with the Arcelor Mittal management headed by its CEO at his Administration Building office on Roberts Street regarding the bridge and other issues relating to developments in the county.

Commenting on the situation Wednesday, Superintendent Baikpeh told LINA that the county authority is engaging logging companies and ALM to identify an alternative route for logging trucks through the Mittal concession area before the government can officially shut down the bridge to the public.

He said the County is considering swift intervention for the reconstruction of the bridge in collaboration with the logging companies and Mittal since the experts have disclosed the status report of the bridge.

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