Somalia Drive Cutting Off From Rest of City…Citizens Decry Condition

By Morrison O.G. Sayon

One of Monrovia’s major Freeways, the Somalia Drive, is cutting off from the rest of the city due to the deplorable condition on the road.

The Somalia Drive might be impassible in the coming months due to the deplorable road condition as many parts of the road have become muddy while potholes have overtaken the entire Freeway. Some of the major affected areas include Battery Factor, New Georgia Junction, 72nd Junction as well as Redlight.

Despite promise by the Liberian Government through President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that the road project would’ve started in February, nothing has been done to improve the condition of the road. As a result of the situation mainly along the Somalia Drive, commercial drivers have increased transportation fares beyond the normal fares.

The transportation fares from Barnesville Estate to central Monrovia is now L$70 to L$80.00 against the usual price of L$60.00 while from New Georgia Junction to Central Monrovia is now L$60.00 which was L$40.00 few months back.

Beside the hike in the fares of transportation, traffic jam is another serious situation impeding the free mobility of commuters in the Garnerville area. Those coming to town usually spend three to four hours from Bardnersville Estate while from New Georgia Junction to Central Monrovia takes about two hours plus to get to town. The traffic is mainly concentrated around Bardnersville Junction to New Georgia Junction and Topoe Village to Battery Factory.

On the other hand, vehicle owners are complaining that they are forced to purchase parts of their cars daily or weekly due to the ditches on the road mainly around Battery Factory, New Georgia Junction and 72nd Junction. On many occasions, vehicles get stranded in the mud and remain there until their owners bring in mechanics to help remove their cars, a situation one of the vehicle owners described as embarrassing.

As a result of the bad road condition, vehicles coming from the commercial District of Redlight usually drop passengers coming to central Monrovia at the New Georgia Junction to be picked up by the Yellow school buses that take passengers at designated locations along the Somalia Drive.

Vehicles plying the Freeway have created their own roads apart from the main route to enable them bypass the ditches from 72nd, New Georgia Junction and Battery Factory thus worsening the situation.

What has happened to the commencement of the road project signed between the Liberian Government and the Government and people of Japan is anyone’s guess as nothing has been done to show signs of rehabilitation of the road. When the fence was erected from the Stockton Creek to Battery Factory many persons thought that the road would’ve begun soon but to date nothing is ongoing on the road while the situation continues to deteriorate on a daily basis.

“Since we elected Ma Ellen she has refused to look at our road; we are suffering because of the bad road condition and no one cares,” Sarah Doe, a resident of the Somalia Drive said. “Why is it that this government continues to ignore our plight? The President is not paying any attention to this road business even though they have signed a document for the construction of the road,” Madam Doe stressed.

Some of the citizens said government is insensitive to the plight of the Liberian people and have massively failed on several fronts including its development agenda and economy and therefore, must now review its plans and program for development and creating a smooth economic condition as poverty and deplorable have taken over the country.

What is most disgusting according to James Nagbe, a resident of Barnesville Estate, is that several officials of this very government including Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan, Speaker Alex Tyler, Rep. Gabriel Nyenkan, Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai, Senator Mabutu Nyenpah, among others live in Gardnersville but have shown no concern about the deplorable condition of the road.

“They don’t care because they are riding in their big jeeps and enjoying bouncing in the potholes; they are not paying any transportation fares; they get their monthly gasoline slips and so they care less about the ordinary citizens who are feeling the pains. Our transportation fares have increased; our time wasted and so forth; what is happening to this country? Mr. Nagbe in frustrated tone wondered.

Our team of reporters who went on the road observed that if nothing is done expeditiously to at least take the updated tarmac from the main road and bring in crush rocks to replace it, then that part of Monrovia will cut off from the rest of the city.