President Bio: The Champion of Sierra Leone’s Infrastructure
When President Julius Maada Bio announced in the Well of Parliament, on Tuesday, 10th May, 2022, that his government has completed more bridges in the last four years than any other government has in the history of Sierra Leone, many of his political opponents were very critical about that statement.
Well, in order to prove all those doubting Thomases wrong, Sengbeh Pieh Bridge, Savage Street Bridge, and Gondama Bridges are completed and have eased up traffic.
When the Mabang Bridge collapsed on Friday, 22nd February, 2013, I was a journalist working for the Premier News Newspaper. I reported the matter severally in the newspaper for the Ernest Bai Koroma led-government to reconstruct it but my efforts proved futile.
Four years later, on 8th August, 2017, when I was a journalist working for Concord Times Newspaper, I also started to report on the economic constraints that the inhabitants of the two chiefdoms, districts and regions, have been going through since the collapsed of the Mabang Bridge. Again, the then government gave my reportage deaf ears.
The Mabang Bridge, which serves as the boundary between two chiefdoms (Koya and Ribbi), two districts (Port Loko and Moyamba), and two regions (North-West and South), collapsed after a heavy-duty truck loaded with local produce summersaulted and went into the river.
Well, having been neglected by the Ernest Bai Koroma led-government, the ‘New Direction’ government, headed by the champion of Sierra Leone’s infrastructure, President Bio, is on the verge of commissioning it and it will open up a major corridor running from Moyamba district through Songo in the Port Loko district.
President Bio’s government has completed the construction of a 163m long, two-lane Magbele Bridge that crosses over the Rokel River.
Prior to its construction, Magbele Bridge, which has existed over 65 years, was a one-lane bridge, causing queues of vehicular traffic throughout the day.
The bridge, which is situated in Port Loko District, leads to two strategic regional headquarters of Port Loko (North-West) and Makeni (North-East). The two regions are predominantly the strongholds of the country’s main political opposition-the All People’s Congress (APC).
But, irrespective of one’s political, regional, and tribal affiliations, President Bio’s ‘One people, One Country’ ideology has propelled him to equally distribute national development.
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Already, two 50m bridges on the Pendemdu-Kailahun road have been completed by the President Bio’s led-administration.
In addition, plans are very soon underway for the reinforced concrete bridge construction works at four ferry crossings: Tomparie (Karene District), Mattru (Bonthe District), Gendema (Kenema District) and Manowa (Kailahun District).
Beside bridges, President Bio’s government has even made more strategic roads than any other government in Sierra Leone’s history.
Major road projects such as a dual carriage highway (four lanes) with tree-lined medians from Freetown to Masiaka, a 46km road between Bo and Bandajuma, and a 105km Bandajuma-MRU Road, have all been constructed in the last four years of President Bio’s reign.
The long-neglected 36km highway from Moyamba Junction to Moyamba, including four modern bridges, have been constructed as well.
A 28km Pendembu- Kailahun Road, the Hill Station to Regent Road completed with modern lighting, among many others, have also been constructed. Similarly, there is significant progress on the Lumley-Tokeh Road and the Hillside Bypass Road.
President Bio’s has also undertaken expansion and re-gravelling works and culvert bridges on 1,800km of roads across the country making them more motorable and making erstwhile remote communities more accessible than before now.
Countless number of rehabilitated and reconstructed major township roads have been done in Freetown (Sierra Leone’s capital), Kono, Kabala, Bo, Kenema, Bonthe, Makeni, Magburaka, and Mattru.
Construction works will soon begin on township Roads in Kamakwei (Karene District), Falaba and Mongor (Falaba District), Blama, Segwbema, Daru, Zimmi, Potoru, Bandajuma, and Njaima Sewafe.
The once neglected Tikonko-Mattru Jong Road has also received an olive branch from the ‘New Direction’ administration.
Construction works on the Mattru – Kpetema Road, funded by BADEA and the Government of Sierra Leone, have commenced and government is finalising funding arrangements for the Kpetema – Tikonko Junction section.
With all these major roads and bridges that have been completed, citizens’ lives would significantly improve ‘paopaly’.
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What else have we not seen under President Bio’s government when it comes to national development?