“We are very happy for the development. It is changing our lives here,” the Chief of Mamai Town along the Lawalazu-Vezela, Akoi Jallah, stated Saturday.
Chief Jallah said the rehabilitation of the roads and the transformation of log bridges to concrete have increased the number of vehicles moving into the area and reduced transport cost by half. “Our people used to pay 300LD on this road, but we are now paying around 100LD to 150LD,” he said.
He said more people were moving into towns along the road and opening new businesses, while NGOs that never went in these areas are now moving there.
“We thank God; we are happy; we are getting better here,” the Chief of a town with nearly 700 people stated.
Marketers in the Vezela market jubilated when they saw the Minister of Public Works driving to inspect the development. They hailed him and the Government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for what they called the new roads.
Because of this road, we can now bring our market here to sell and get money for ourselves. “This is what we want, thank you Minister,” Krubo Kollie said.
They are lauding the Ministry of Public Works and the Swedish Government, through the Liberia Swedish Feeder Road Project (LSFRP), under which more than 500 kilometers of feeder roads and concrete bridges are being rehabilitated and constructed in Lofa, Bong and Nimba counties.
The Liberian LSFRP is a model of Liberia's rural road infrastructural development and the rehabilitation of feeder roads, Public Works Minister Woods, who toured several of the projects in Lofa over the weekend said.
More than 152 kilometers of feeder roads (representing several segments in districts) have already been completed and were dedicated over the weekend, while several others totaling to about 74 kilometers were also launched.
The LSFRP project initially started in Bong and Lofa Counties and is now being extended to targeted communities in Nimba County, Minister Woods said. The road project is expected to benefit over one million persons in the three counties.
Among several feeder road projects completed and dedicated in Lofa include Voinjama-Barkedu, Voinjama-Bolongoidu, Voinjama-Kugbemai, Voinjama-Jailamai, Lawalazu-Vezela, Tanu Moina-Bajagizia, Borkeza-Kpasagizia, Salayea-Zolowo-Makesu, Salayea-Tinsu-Fassawalazu and Kpasagizia-Guinea Border.
The projects' overall goal is to contribute to the reduction of poverty in the country and to ensure a sustainable road access in communities in Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties and to enhance their livelihood potentials in the agriculture sector, Minister Woods emphasized.
The Public Works boss said the project includes the rehabilitation of 500km of roads by 2014 to increase the Government of Liberia feeder road management capacity.
Due to these interventions, he said, it is expected that several benefits would accrue. “They include significant reduction in travel time, cost of transportation, increased access for road users, pointing out that for more than ten years, the Lawalazu to Vezela road was inaccessible to motorist transport as a result of bridge failure.
“It is now an 18 meter reinforced concrete bridge which facilitates travels of people and goods between Foya, Kolahun, Vezela, Lawalazu and Voinjama,” Minister Woods explained.
Since 2009, Sweden has invested a total of US$32 million in the LSFRP. Citizens said the project has significantly contributed to increase in commercial activities, increase in the number of weekly markets and has increased sale of agriculture produce. It has also increased access to basic services, schools, clinics, reduction in cost of basic goods and services, including transportation.