MONROVIA, Montserrado – Maryland County Senator Dan Morias says the road maintenance policy of Liberia for the last ten years has failed.
According to Morias, several roads in northern and southeastern Liberia are in appalling conditions. He said these roads have been re-conditioned repeatedly, but the same problems persist.
He named Nimba and Grand Gedeh in the southeastern region, and the Gbarnga to Foya corridor in northern Liberia as the worst affect areas.
“There are difficult times in these affected areas due to the deplorable roads,” Morias said. He said vehicles become stuck on the muddy roads for days or weeks before reaching their destination.
“The appalling road condition in these areas has its root to the failed road maintenance policy in the country,” he asserted.
“Liberia has not developed a road policy that underlines urban to rural migration where the millions of dollar that should not be in Monrovia can find its comfort in the interior,” he said.
Morias highlighted the competing interests for the 2015-2016 fiscal budget of US$622.7 million that restricted how much lawmakers could allocate to the Ministry of Public Works.
“The amount given to the Ministry of Public Works in the 2015-2016 fiscal budget of US$27 million is not sufficient either to fix all of the roads,” Morias emphasized.
He said lawmakers attempted allocating more money to road construction but were limited because of the urgency of rebuilding Liberia’s damaged health sector, which the Ebola outbreak exposed to be severely lacking.
Morias also suggested that the Ministry of Education was also given higher priority because of the highly publicized campaign to move the education system from “mess to best.”
William L. Slour, Assistant Minister for Operations and Construction at the Public Works Ministry, said the nation does have an active road maintenance policy.
“I do not agree with Morias that the road maintenance policy of Liberia has failed,” Slour said.
He claimed that unlike the past years, every road in the country is maintained year round, noting “every sub-station of the MPW in the fifteen counties of Liberia had the equipment to implement the road maintenance policy to the fullest.”
Slour added, “Authorities at the MPW are more concerned about roads in the country than Morias.”
He made specific reference to the Buchanan Highway and said maintenance is being carried out by cleaning culverts and cutting the bushes along the route.
However, Slour did not address the dilapidated state of UN Drive, next to the Ministry of Public Works. The street has been in a run-down state for at least a year now, with no attention from MPW.
In a comment that appeared to shift the blame back to Morias, Slour added that “the road maintenance policy is not being fully implemented because of budgetary constraints.”
Slour also explained that the ministry cannot do anything about the damaged roads throughout the country during the raining season because of the high levels of rainfall in Liberia.
“The ministry needs a lot to fully implement the road maintenance policy of this country,” Slour added.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah