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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Barrow lays foundation for 20 OIC roads project

Barrow lays foundation for 20 OIC roads project

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By Tabora Bojang

President Adama Barrow yesterday presided over a colorful ceremony marking the commencement of civil works for the 20 new roads in the West Coast Region and Kanifing Municipality as part of The Gambia’s preparations for the hosting of the OIC summit next year.  

The 50km roads project is funded by the Saudi Fund for Development at a tune of $50 million and is set to address the perennial problems of traffic logjams in the urban settlement as well as provide alternative roads for commuters during the summit.

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The president began the day-long activity in Brufut where he laid the foundation stone for Lot 2 of the contract which includes the Brufut-Touba Sanchaba-Kerr Serign, Sukuta-Wullingkama-Brufut-Ghana Town roads among others. He later proceeded to lay another foundation stone for the construction of roads under Lot 1 in KM under which the following roads among others will be constructed; GPPC Road-Westfield (Jokor)- Abuko, Sukuta- Latrikunda Sabiji, Junctionba- Hermann Gmeiner Road, Rev. J.C. Faye, Sukuta Health Center-Kololi Senegambia Road intersection and Bundung Highway.

Speaking on the occasion, President Barrow said: “This is a day we will all remember as another major milestone in the development process of the necessary infrastructure for the successful hosting of the OIC Summit in 2022. The occasion strengthens our hopes for a better and up-to-date highway and a sustainable road network to facilitate movement and economic activities within the Greater Banjul Area and the West Coast Region.”

He said the construction of such roads will boost commercial engagements, improve the image of urban settings and vitally expand Gambia’s urban road network to accommodate the increasing volume of road traffic.

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The president disclosed that the roads will be provided with an efficient drainage system, installation of solar powered street lights and the construction of shoulders, sidewalks, drains and parking areas.

“There are towns and settlements, big and small, that have been isolated for decades due to poor accessibility, yet the situation continues to be ignored. Those isolated areas will be served by the proposed network of feeder roads that will link them to the highway. Through such projects, access to schools, hospitals and other social amenities and services will be enhanced gradually throughout the country,” he added

President Barrow commended the OIC secretariat for their efforts towards the realisation of the project and Saudi Fund for Development for providing the estimated funding requirement.

The roads were contracted to companies from Senegal, Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone, who are to join ventures with Gambian owned GAMBISARA and SSTP which has been incorporated in The Gambia.

The Chief Executive Officer of the OIC secretariat, Yankuba Dibba said the coming of the OIC to the country will be meaningless if it cannot be linked to the welfare, wellbeing and progress of the majority of Gambians.

He said the project would have been in advanced stage if not for the delays related to Covid-19 and bureaucratic red tapes associated with donor funded projects of such magnitude.

“However, we are delighted to have weathered the storm and the implementation phase of our project has begun. I wish to reassure the public that the OIC Gambia secretariat will leave no stone unturned in taking the extra step to make Gambia proud on the world stage”, Dibba said.

The alkalo of Brufut, Ma Lamin Manneh described the occasion as “memorable and touching” for the natives of Brufut following what he called “over 50 years of neglect” under the former regimes.

Mr Manneh said with the coming of the road, the president has demonstrated his love for the people of Brufut. “We also want to tell you Mr. President that we will do our part effectively by voting for you in December,” the alkalo assured.

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