KAKATA, Margibi – A bus station being constructed for the National Transit Authority in Kakata continues to be abandoned. The contractor has not resumed work following a halt due to the Ebola outbreak.
Construction on the NTA bus terminal began in early 2013 but was interrupted in 2014 due to the Ebola outbreak.
When completed, the terminal, located on the outskirts of downtown Kakata, is expected to serve as a stop for NTA buses traveling through Margibi.
Since 2014, the project has remained unfinished, thus claiming the attention of Kakata residents and authorities of the Kakata City Corporation.
Kakata Mayor Eddie Murphy said it is discouraging to see the project lying in ruins and abandoned. He said no reason had been given to the Kakata City Corporation for the delay.
Murphy noted that the bus terminal is a significant project and, upon its completion, will have several compartments including a restaurant and a motel to accommodate passengers during the night hours.
Murphy, however, called on NTA to resume the construction because he said the NTA buses are causing traffic congestion in the streets of Kakata.
When contacted, the public affairs officer of the National Transit Authority, Robert Wilson, told Radio Margibi, a local radio station in the county, that NTA is not the sole financer of the abandoned bus station; the National Oil Company of Liberia is also funding the construction.
Wilson revealed that in early 2013, NTA saw the need to construct bus terminals across the country and sought sponsors for these projects.
He said after NTA lobbied for funding, NOCAL agreed to finance the construction of three bus terminals – in Bo Waterside, Kakata, and Gbarnga.
Wilson further explained that NOCAL had notified NTA that it would do the procurement and bid for the construction companies, with preference given to Liberian-owned companies.
The Kakata terminal project was won by the Liberian-owned Dougbor Construction Company.
“During the construction of the NTA’s terminal in 2014 when the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak struck the C. H. Rennie Hospital, all the workers of the Duogbor Company left Kakata; and since then, the project has delayed,” Wilson said.
He said the delay recently triggered NTA’s management to ask Dougbor Construction to explain the prolonged delay of the project.
He also explained that Dougbor Construction, after NTA’s intervention, requested NOCAL to pay the balance funds to resume the project.
Wilson, however, threatened that NTA would not hesitate to report Dougbor Construction to the Ministry of Justice if it does not complete the project in time, upon the payment of the balance funds by the National Oil Company of Liberia.
However, Wilson said he did not know the amount that needs to be paid to Dougbor Construction. Additionally, he said he was unaware of the remaining time it would take to finish the project. He referred all such inquiries to NOCAL.
The lack of a terminal creates an inconvenience for passengers, who may sometimes have to wait hours to catch a ride on the NTA bus, which is much more affordable than other available means. During the rainy season, the situation is exacerbated because travelers have no shelter from the rain.
NTA was established by an Act of the National Legislature on March 24, 2009, to establish and implement an effective and efficient transit system in Liberia.
Yawah Jaivey of Radio Margibi contributed to this article. Featured photo by Yaway Jaivey