Margibi County Rep. Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh has expressed grave concern over the slow pace of work which is being carried out on the expansion of the Robert International Airport Road.
In his communication to the Plenary of the House of Representatives, Representative Tarponweh 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.
He is alarmed by the increase in death rate along the route, traffic congestion and the hardship commuters face while plying the airport highway.
The Margibi County district #1 lawmaker is quoted as sayin, “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. People who drive on that road are inconvenient for hours. People cannot get home on time. The critically ills are loosing their lives. This is becoming a concern.”
The CDC lawmaker then requested for the acting Public Works Minister’s appearance to provide a 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 intense deliberation of Representative Tarponweh’s communication during Tuesday’s Session, the House’s Plenary agreed to send the communication to the House’s Committee on Public Works.
On February 20, 2020, there were jubilations and excitement from many Liberians as they witnessed President George M. Weah brake ground for the expansion and pavement of the Robert International Airport Road corridor, valued at US $94.5 million.
Since 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 dollar project, especially with the company having a tainted performance record.
Having less machinery and equipment as well as funding yet to be detailed and explained raise major doubts on the minds of many Liberians.
A report gathered by Dakpannah 24 News/ Television 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 road 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.