Public Works Orders Sidani Group to Revert to Old Design of Gbarnga Streets Pavement

GBARNGA, Bong – Barely three weeks after Bong authorities halted the Gbarnga streets pavement project, the Ministry of Public Works has ordered the company implementing the construction to resume work using the previous design of the project.

On January 9, the county administration and the Ministry of Public Works halted the project on grounds that Sidani Group Holding, the company hired to complete the pavement, had deviated from the earlier design of the project.

Bong’s assistant superintendent for development, Anthony Sheriff, said Sidani Group Holding had reduced the size of the road from the Phebe Parking to the Star Gas Station from the original 9.5m to 7.3m and was using smooth sand instead of the required rough sand for the project.

A Ministry of Public Works letter dated January 18 and addressed to Sidani Group Holding ordered the company to revert to the original plan of the project.

The ministry also called on authorities of Bong to remove the stop order placed on the project to enable Sidani to continue with the construction.

“The contractor, Sidani Group Holding, is to construct and complete the Rigid Pavement project consistent with the existing carriageway of 9.5 meters instead of the 7.3 meters as earmarked in the project document for community roads,” the letter read.

The letter, signed by the assistant minister for construction, Dave Thaddaeus Sleweon, also instructs the company to submit its adjusted work schedule to the consultant, JLN International, for the prompt resumption of the pavement works in Gbarnga.

When contacted, Sheriff said the project will shortly kick-off as directed in the letter written to Sidani Group Holding, although he did not give a precise date for the resumption of work.

“We cannot be exact with the actual date, but the work will resume anytime from now,” he said.

He noted that 1-kilometer road will also affect the Far East to Ganta Parking and Madam Suakoko High Streets.

Sheriff lauded the Ministry of Public works for the collaboration in ensuring that the company works in compliance with the original design of the project.

When contacted about when the company would resume work, the operations director of Sidani Group Holding, Hassan Sidani, did not give a specific date.

He assured the public that his company would implement the project as mandated by the Ministry of Public Works.

“Trying to upgrade few things on the road design. Hopefully, the team will soon be there. The Gbarnga project will finish two weeks after the team arrives if God agrees,” Sidani said.

He had earlier denied that his company reduced the size of the road, promising to investigate the matter.

In January 2016, the project started as a county and social development fund project for Bong at the cost of little over US$1.3 million.

Documents in the position of The Bush Chicken show that Bong paid half of this amount to the previous contractor but the road project was not halfway completed.

The project became stalled in early 2017 and did not recommence until President George Weah recently announced that the government would complete the pavement, along with the Bong County Technical College, another controversial project in the county.

Featured photo by Moses Bailey

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia recognized him as the Human Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2017, he was the Development Reporter of the Year. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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