Whether it is Paramount Chief Madam Sallay Satta Gendemeh of Malegohun Chiefdom or Paramount Chief Madam Mariama Jaward Tamia of Niawa Chiefdom or it is Paramount Chief Mohamed Dhaffie Benya of Small Bo Chiefdom or it is Paramount Chief Sahr Kallon Nyuma Sengu of Kissi Tongi or it is Paramount Chief Coker Jajua of Njaluahun Chiefdom, most of the Paramount Chiefs in Eastern Sierra Leone will respond that the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has been taking admirable strides in improving the road network and transportation service to the Eastern Region of Sierra Leone. Their subjects will also readily inform that ongoing simultaneous roads and transportation improvements in Eastern Sierra Leone are unprecedented in the history of that region.
The main Kono Highway leading down from Matotoka into that district & the main Kailahun Highway leading down from Kenema are both being professionally constructed to international highway standard. Apart from the Highways, a huge number of feeder roads are being reconstructed simultaneously in a majority of the chiefdoms.
|No more stones & palm-trees bridges between Buedu and Liberia. This is just one of the new bridges built along the Buedu to Liberia Road. The local residents have nicknamed it as "MANSION"
The Eastern capital city of Kenema few weeks back played host to a team of Engineers who are to soon undertake a massive inner city roads rehabilitation network.
Other than roads, in terms of improving the transport system, bus services are now being instituted in places they had never before been serving. For example, the historic town of Blama in Kenema’s Small Bo chiefdom had been for 45 years without any form of regular public transport between the capital and Blama ever since the closure of the railway. As of this week, a daily bus service will now be serving Blama from Freetown to and fro. Similar bus service are being reinstituted to serve other strategic eastern towns like Segbwema, Njaluahun.
“Development is what our people want and development is being brought here by the government. This bus is not only for Small Gbo but also for my chiefdom of Niawa all the way to Pujehun axis. So we are all very grateful. We will put our hands under this project and we appreciate His Excellency so much,” said P.C. Madam Mariama Jaward Tamia at the occasion to commission the Blama buses on Tuesday 28th July 2015.
|SLPP's M.A. Sandy stands with Hon. Bernadette Lahai, Hon. Francis Konouwah and Hon. Maya Kaikai at Commissioning of Weima Bridge
Speaking also as he showered praises on President Koroma, Paramount Chief Mohamed Dhaffie Benya said in addition to the bus service, many of the main streets in Blama town are now in the process of feasibility studies by engineers for them to be tarred. The total stretch of roads that will be tarred will be almost 6kilometers. He stated a litany of the benefits that good roads and improved transportation will bring to him people.
Further inside Kenema, a damaged old 1930 Bridge in Minority Leader Hon. Bernadette Lahai’s Constituency is all set to be rebuilt. On Saturday 25th July 2015, the government at an event in her home town of Weima, commissioned and handed over the project site to a contractor for the reconstruction of the collapsed bridge as well as chiefdom roads for both Hon. Lahai and Hon. Francis Konouwah’s constituencies. At the event witnessed by P.C. Madam Sallay Satta Gendemeh and neighbouring Lower Bambara Chiefdom Speaker Amara Gandor, Resident Minister Eastern Province Hon. Maya Kaikai recalled the promise made by President Koroma last year to reconstruct the collapsed bridge and how speedily the promise had been fulfilled.
The key bridge which will be linking Hon. Francis Konouwah and Hon. Bernadette Lahai’s constituencies with the rest of Kenema, will also be constructed alongside the road leading from Bendu Junction off the Kenema-Pendembu Highway into that part of Kenema.
Similar roads and bridges are being built inside Kailahun. For example, at the extreme end of the East along the border with Liberia, a long stretch of road that had been closed since 1987 was re-opened some 20 months ago with the use of palm tree logs by a young local councillor but the logs were such that they could not bear heavy vehicles like goods trucks. President Koroma heard about his efforts and organised for NaCSA to transform the dangerous palm tree planks bridges into solid cement and iron structures. As of this past weekend, that Buedu-Liberia road now has over nine huge strong cement bridges over rivers and 17 cement and iron culverts built over streams where palm trees had laid. As a result, huge trucks with up to ten wheels can now ply that route improving flow of goods and persons between the two countries.
The people of that remote part of Sierra Leone had never seen the kind of relatively huge, cement bridges that have been constructed with reinforced iron rods. They have nicknamed them as “mansions” as they stand in awe of their sizes.
Meanwhile, this newspaper will be running a series of articles on many of the ongoing developments in the roads and transportation sectors in the Eastern Province in subsequent editions next month.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.