Story by Alva M. Wolokolie
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently showered praises on one of her able lieutenants, Public Works Minister, Attorney Samuel Koffi Woods for his commitment and dedication.
Minister Woods, a former Human Rights lawyer of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) and Labor Minister in the first term of President Sirleaf, reports say has been instrumental in bringing significant transformation at the Public Works Ministry by improving the construction of road-networks in the country.
Since his preferment as Minister of Public Works, observers say Minister Woods has implemented several initiatives representing major components of the country’s infrastructure strategy. He is credited with expanding urban and rural renewal programs in the country.
Minister Woods’s program addresses the plight of urban dwellers who suffer environmental difficulties especially unpaved, laterite city streets, while still maintaining focus on rehabilitating and maintaining primary, secondary and feeder roads nation wide.
At an acquaintance meeting with the minister and his staff yesterday at the offices of the Public Works Ministry, President Sirleaf said she was impressed with the report given her concerning the construction and rehabilitation of roads currently taking place in the country.
Minutes after her meeting with Minister Woods, President Sirleaf told reporters in an interview that the Minister briefed her on progress being made and the challenges the Ministry have encountered since the commencement of major and feeder roads around the country.
She said road construction is one of the major priorities on the agenda of her government and as such more budgetary support needed to be given the ministry to fast track its work.
For his part, Minister Woods disclosed that the pavement of the Fishtown-Harper Highway will commence early November 2013, while the signing of contracts for the Caldwell Bridge and the Gbanrga-Ganta Highway will also start at the end of this month
Minister Woods indicated that the signings of the contracts for the roads and the bridges will be taken to the people where the projects are located for review. For example, the construction of Caldwell Bridge contract will be signed in the township of Caldwell, and not at the Public Works Ministry, he disclosed.
The Public Works boss told reporters that the projects are funded by the World Bank and the government of Liberia. He reiterated further that the Ministry under his guidance will not compromise the durability of constructed roads because roads are built to last for a good number of years and not for few months.