The people of Belle Yellah will, for the first time in their life time since the founding of Liberia breathe the air of total freedom, because difficulty to the most challenging Tuma River which separates the infamous community from the rest of Gbarpolu County for times immemorial will soon be a matter of history in the next two or three weeks.
The much politicized road project which has endured tension in the last two years is expected to be dedicated along with other infrastructure projects in the county during the celebration of Liberia’s 166th Independence Day Anniversary slated for July 26 later this year.
Pealat Construction Company (PCC) under a special presidential project arrangement was contracted by the Liberian Government to build the road to the community named after the defunct notorious prison, Belle Yellah, used by successive political leaders to silence people with nonconforming views.
But President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who controversially came to power in 2006 promised to change that history by shutting down the prison to turn it into a vocational training center.
To achieve that, the Liberian leader decided to build a motor road and by 2009, she led an array of government officials, including Americans and Chinese ambassadors to spend the Christmas Season of that year in Belle Yellah, where she officially closed down the prison.
It was Pealat Construction Company that took a little more than 25 days to make the initial clearance in the Belle Forest to allow the presidential convoy to reach the Town, although Tuma River was a major challenge, the Contractor at the time used logs and ordinary dirt for vehicles to cross over.
The project soon began to face difficulties since government was not remitting money to the contractor to sustain the zeal that characterized the historic entry into Belle Yellah, something that nearly created the impression that the regime was not able to fulfill its promise to the people.
Although critics believe that the presidential project would not be a matter of reality but a mere political charade, however latest progress accelerated by the contractor has put all arguments to rest restoring the confidence of the people that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regime was still committed to fulfilling its promise.
Amongst latest tremendous progress made by Pealat in the last few months on the road which has triggered celebration across the Belle District, include the nearly completed Tuma River Bridge, the blasting of the tallest Goma Hill and the deployment of equipment across Tuma River which are aggressively moving towards Belle Yellah Town.
Pealat’s senior engineer, Emanuel Afari-Bekoe confirmed that the Tuma River Bridge which has been the major obstacle to Belle Yellah would be completed in three weeks, while at the same time making sure that the entire road is accessible to motorists.
The company has deployed additional equipment which are simultaneously carrying on clearance, grading, formation, gravelling, installation of culverts, backfilling of completed bridges and the completion of center piers of other mini-bridges amongst others.
At the moment, vehicles and motorcycles can drive or ride safely from Bopolu, the provincial capital of Gbarpolu County to Tuma River, a situation which Pealat is trying to change in the next weeks.
According to Pealat’s Management, additional equipment are expected to be deployed soon in an effort to accelerate progress aimed at finally completing the project. Public Works Deputy Minister for Technical Services, Victor B. Smith who toured the road recently expressed confidence in the ability of the contractor to end to the project.
According to Min. Smith, the President would drive to Belle Yellah during the celebration, something he believed was possible.