Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a significant milestone for the residents of Songo, Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, officially launched the rehabilitation of the Makolo Junction to Koblo-Gulama Bridge road at Mabang, Koya Chiefdom on November 15, 2023. The completion of this crucial roadwork is anticipated by January 2025.
The Paramount Chief (PC) Bai Kompa Bomboli, welcoming the esteemed guests at the launch, described the event as historic. He noted that the community had been eagerly awaiting the rehabilitation since 1974 when the last train left the area. PC Bomboli expressed gratitude to President Bio for fulfilling the promise made in June of the previous year, ensuring that the road would be rehabilitated if he was re-elected.
VP Juldeh Jalloh standing on the machine used for road rehabilitation
Before officially launching the road rehabilitation, Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh emphasized the pivotal role of roads in fostering connectivity, trade, agriculture, education, and healthcare. He extended appreciation to the European Union (EU) for their support in the country’s infrastructural development. Acknowledging the impact on local residents due to the rehabilitation, he assured the audience that a compensation scheme had been established, with affected individuals already identified.
Manuel Muller, the European Union Ambassador to Sierra Leone, highlighted the EU’s collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone on major road projects. He detailed that the road structure would include a subgrade, subbase, base course, and an asphaltic wearing surface, constituting a dual carriageway accommodating vehicular traffic in both directions. Muller explained that the road would be 10 meters wide, with the carriage being 3.5 meters in either direction and a 1.5-meter shoulder on each side.
The EU Ambassador emphasized that the new road stretch would bring Port Loko and Moyamba Districts closer, fostering inter-district integration and contributing to economic development. He encouraged the Sierra Leonean authorities to strengthen road maintenance programs, axle load control legislation, and road safety campaigns to maximize the return on investment in road infrastructure.
Muller stated, “This project launch is a good example of the EU and Sierra Leone working together to build connectivity, making Sierra Leone part of the Global Gateway.” He underscored the significance of roads, stating that they connect people and bridge gaps within and between countries and regions.
Assuring continued EU support for Sierra Leone, Muller outlined their commitment to green economy initiatives, food security, agriculture sector development, and the Team Europe Initiative for clean energy. He also highlighted ongoing assistance in human capital development.
Ambrose James, the Director of the National Authorizing Office (NAO), revealed that the road rehabilitation is a joint funding effort by the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union. The total cost for the 14-kilometer road is 7.35 million Euros, with the EU contributing 63% (4.6 million Euros) and the Sierra Leonean government providing 37% (2.75 million Euros). The rehabilitation project is slated to last for 14 months, commencing on November 1, 2023, and concluding on January 1, 2025. SKS/16/11/2023