China’s direct investment in Liberia reached 10 Billion Dollars by 2010 according to a World Bank recent index report. The Chinese Government is not slowing down and these investments which are accompanied by tangible development aid packages of significant value, have given China a special place in the heart of Liberians.
China Chongqing International Construction Company, (CICO) internationally acclaimed for its specialized engineering performance in road network building and construction in the world, including Liberia has renewed its commitment and support to Liberia’s recovery drive and is thereby seeking the full cooperation from all project communities and motorists plying the Red Light- Gbarnga Highway to strictly observe all road safety regulations as the project enters another phase.
CICO says while maintenance activities including filling potholes, lateral drainage, re-grading etc. is ongoing, engineers and road technicians were finding it somewhat difficult in having motorists fully comply with road safety regulations as well as instructions being given by flagmen along the highway.
Shengwei Li, Project Administrator, lamented that vehicles moving at high speed are currently running into safety drums painted white and black which are used along the highway to serve as a barricade at culvert construction sites for traffic control during road works.
While moves are being exerted to bring this situation under control, safety agents are being assigned at various sites in the Wealaa section with 10 to 15 minutes briefings which will help educate workers in each department on a daily basis while safety officers and agents monitor the site for unsafe practices and at the same time provide corrective measures as required.
Flagmen were seen using the required red and green flags for traffic control along with damaged ones regularly replaced while the replacement of damaged personal protective equipment at Weala and Gbartala continue to date.
At the moment, engineers and technicians continue the installation of culvert and construction of apron, wing and head walls in both section one and two while scarifying existing asphalt pavement (3.5 kilometers) and the reconditioning of by-passes are some of the progress made by CICO to ensure that the output and performance – based road contract are successfully implemented.
Accordingly, during the month of November 2013, the company achieved tremendous progress particularly in establishing a new camp at Kilometer 18 to host crews, equipment and materials while crushing activities at the quarry sites at Weala and Gbatala are ongoing.
With the designed, rehabilitation and maintenance of the Red Light- Gbarnga Highway and that of the Konola Bridge by CICO, trade and commerce is expected to boom within a matter of time when the road shall have been officially dedicated, thus allowing the free flow of traffic in that part of the country which happens to be a major international route.
From all indications, the highway project which contract agreement was entered into between CICO and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Public Works, seriously considers health, safety and environmental management plan as a working tool for the implementation of the project and is being made possible by the company’s health and safety team comprising local and international staffers.
In an attempt to respect human dignity and labor as well as the principle of fair play, the company’s management on October 28, 2013 signed a collective bargaining agreement with the workers union and seeks to address a number of sticky issues which led to tension at the company’s project site in Weala, Bong County.
Mr. Marcus Blamah, National Timber, Wood, Construction & Allied Workers Union of Liberia (NTWCAWU) in a media conversation with this paper assured both workers and management of the company that his association will ensure that project works being implemented by the company will be successfully completed under a peaceful atmosphere, void of conflict and tension.
He explained that the new agreement is highly sensitive to several of the workers’ previous demands which centered on salary increment, natural death benefits, feeding, medical and annual leaves, thereby calling on all parties involved to adhere to the new CBA.