World Bank-Liberia Country Manager, IngunaDobraja, has outlined the importance of the construction of roads and bridges in the country.
Making special remarks on Sunday at the dedication of the newly constructed Caldwell Bridge known as the Jake Milton Bridge, Madam Dobraja said roads and bridges are important as they connect counties and people; increase access to markets and are essential in providing health and educational services in remote areas.
Madam Dobraja said the new bridge and the approaching access roads will provide primary access to White Plains Water Treatment Facility and Mt. Coffee Hydroelectric Generation Plant and also benefit the citizens immensely.
The World Bank official furthered, “All stakeholders, the Government of Liberia, the consultant and contractor have worked hard to get us to today. I would not dwell on the numerous challenges the construction process faced from ensuring the safety of the old and severely deteriorated single lane bridge to dealing with the delays caused by the devastating Ebola outbreak last year. The result is that by working together we can stand here today and dedicate the new Jake Melton Bridge. This is a manifestation of the continuous support of international partners to Liberia and its development priorities,” Madam Dobraja concluded.
Dobraja then urged young Liberians to pursue technical education as a means of contributing to the rebuilding process of their country. She added, “I want to use this occasion to encourage other young Liberians to pursue technical education, like engineering.”
The World Bank official noted that Liberia needs many more engineers to achieve the ambitious goals of the country’s development agenda. On the construction of the bridge, Madam Dobraja added that the construction process of the bridge was also a learning process Liberian students from technical institutions underwent with rigorous training at the project site as a part of capacity building initiative under the project.
She furthered, “Initiatives like this are crucial in helping young Liberians to acquire necessary practical knowledge and experience, allowing them to undertake important professional roles after completing studies. We are pleased to see that Liberia is back on track in implementing its development priorities, including finalizing the construction of Jake Melton Bridge,” Dobrajasaid. She then assured Liberians that that, as in the past, the World Bank will continue working with other partners and provide all the support the country needs in achieving Liberia’ development goals.
Dobraja pointed out, “I have to admit, for me, the name of this bridge will always remain the Caldwell Bridge. And there is a very good reason for that. I still clearly remember my first meeting with Madam President when one of the first questions was “is the procurement process for the Caldwell Bridge construction on track?”
The World Bank official noted that the Rome was not built in a day adding, “I am glad that the bridge we are standing on now was built in much shorter period of time so, there is a good ending to the story. And I am glad that I have kept the promise I made to myself and my Liberian colleagues that I will not leave Liberia before walking over the new Caldwell Bridge.”
She said the financing of the bridge is part of a much larger transport program the World Bank is implementing together with the Liberian Government. Dobraja added that rebuilding dilapidated transport infrastructure is one of the development priorities of Liberia and World Bank fully stand behind the Government in helping to implement these priorities.
In a related development, guests who attended the dedicatory ceremony of the newly constructed Caldwell Bridge have paid tribute to former Public Works Minister, Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods for his contribution to the construction of the Jake Milton Bridge and other road major projects in the country.
Finance, Development and Planning Minister, Amara Konneh and others lauded former Minister Woods for beginning the process of the construction of the Caldwell Bridge and also others who contributed significantly to the process. Minister Konneh added that Woods was one of the Liberian Government officials who signed the contract that led to the construction of the bridge.