Transport Ministry Hands over Project Site For The Transformation Of Freetown
By Juliana Vandy:
Strategic Communications Unit,
Ministry of Information and Communications
The Ministry of Transport and Aviation on Saturday 25th July 2020, handed over the project site of the Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project (IRUMP) to PAVI FORT AL-Ayhandlar JV, a local engineering company, for the improvement of roads, intersections and traffic signalizations in the Western Urban district.
The ceremony took place in Agriculture Compound at Lumley, West of Freetown.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Brima Munda Sowa, described the project as historic for the people of Sierra Leone particularly residents of Freetown.
He disclosed that the project was signed exactly a year ago by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, with the World Bank to provide twenty-two pedestrian infrastructures, general road construction, traffic light management signalization, and intersection improvement.
He furthered that the project was awarded to a local contractor because government is keen on promoting local content and urged all and sundry to own the project because it is a national property.
The Project Manager of PAVI FORT expressed gratitude to the Government of Sierra Leone for trusting them to implement the IRUMP.
He added that as a company they will ensure that implementation of the project is done within the stipulated timeframe and with quality.
He averred that PAVI FORT as a local contractor has a history of accuracy in terms of completion of previous contracts awarded them and reaffirmed the company’s commitment to ensuring they fulfill their part as the project is the first ever in Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the project, Finance Ministry Jacob Jusu Saffa explained that when the New Direction administration of President Bio took office in 2018, the Mayor of Freetown Yvonne Aki-Sawyer approached him for a $15 million project designed to decongest Freetown which he said he rejected because it would not be enough to do the job of decongesting the city.
Mr. Saffa informed that His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio later went to the World Bank and lobbied for support for the project which he succeeded in getting. "Instead of the $15 million loan initially settled for, the President ended up getting a $50 million grant for the decongestion project," the Finance Minister said.
Highlighting the various components of the project, the Project Coordinator, Hindolo Shaka, said it is divided into two: East and West Corridors. He explained that the West Corridor runs from Number Two River to Bus Station via Wilkinson Road, Bus Halt, Savage Street, Sanders Street, and Post Office, saying the improved Bus Station will house SLRTC’s office to enhance transportation services to the public with a multi-storey car park, tea shop and other shops for public service.
The East Corridor, Mr Shaka went on, starts from Jui through Cline Town, Fourah Bay Road, Sani Abacha Street, Wilberforce Street and ends at Bus Station.
He said that government intends to bring in buses for public service that will ply the aforementioned routes, adding that the new buses will be using a financial intelligent system (cashless system) to help reduce corruption as the fare payment will be done directly to the bus system.
Mr. Shaka noted that the system will encourage mobile money payment and use of cards to avoid human monetary transactions.
He revealed that the manufacturers of the buses have agreed to fit each of them with internet facility and other designs that will accommodate persons with disability, among others.
Before handing over the site to the contractor, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabineh Kallon, thanked His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio for securing a grant that trippled the initial projected loan amount. He said as s ministry they have been working assiduously to ensure that the project becomes a reality.
He encouraged drivers and other road users to abide, warning that the traffic light and other signalizations will be monitored by road cameras to ensure people comply with the designated routes and obey traffic orders or face the consequences.
The ceremony climaxed with the handing over of the project site document to the contractor, PAVI FORT Al – Ayhandlar JV.