President Weah Undertakes Age-Old RIA Road Expansion Project
Monrovia, Liberia – The Robertsfield Highway, a major corridor connecting Monrovia, the Capital City, to the country’s only international airport and several rural cities, is on the verge of being transformed into a modern four-lane of international standard.President George Manneh Weah, Thursday, February 20, 2020 broke grounds for the expansion and pavement of the RIA Highway, fulfilling another development milestone in keeping with the government’s national development manifesto.
President Weah, in a special statement, described the groundbreaking program as a “historic day for Liberia”, owing to the fact that the stretch of road connecting the country’s only international airport has long been a concern to citizens as well as foreigners who think it is narrow and undeveloped, and unrepresentative of Africa’s oldest republic.
“Today is a historic day. It is a day like no other in the history of our country,” President Weah noted. “Because for the first time since our founding more than 170 years ago, we are here to break ground for the “first modern four-lane highway in Liberia.”
President, who said the expansion of the RIA Highway a great moment for his government and the Liberian people, also referred to the project as a tremendous national significance, “that in addition to the new terminal it presents the first impressions of our country to those traveling to Liberia through the airport.”
He said further: “Secondly, this is a project that is long overdue because of the safety hazards presented by its narrowness and darkness. The RIA Highway has been a death-trap since it was built in the 1940’s, during World War Two. In the 70 years of its existence, it has claimed the lives of thousands of unfortunate passengers, both Liberians and foreigners alike.”
Liberian President said the RIA Highway was the most convenient route for the movement of people, goods, and services to and from six of our fifteen counties, including Margibi, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, and Maryland.
In addition to being convenient route for the movement of people and goods, he also stressed the fact that some of these counties play hosts to several multinational corporations such as Firestone, and Golden Veroleum.
President Weah reminded the public that road connectivity is a core pillar of his administration and a fulcrum of the government’s development agenda – Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
The President indicated that the groundbreaking exercise was a complete realization of commitment he made to the Liberian people through the State of the Nation Address to the National Legislature few weeks ago.
He reflected: “You will recall that in my State of the Nation Address to the Joint Session of the Legislature on January 28 this year, less than a month ago, I informed that August Body of the challenging state of the road leading from Roberts International Airport to Monrovia. I then informed the Legislature that my Government was in the final stages of concluding financial and technical arrangements for the expansion and pavement of a Forty-five (45 km) kilometers four-lane highway from the RIA to ELWA Junction, complete with appropriate safety and lighting facilities.”
He also recalled efforts he and his government continue to exert to bring relief to the Liberian people through nation-wide road connectivity.
“Since my incumbency, we have broken grounds for many infrastructural projects throughout Liberia, and some of these projects have already been completed and dedicated,” the President disclosed.
President Weah used the occasion to remind the audience that since he came to office two years ago, he and his administration continue to break grounds, complete paved roads in Monrovia and its environs.
He said: “These modest efforts have brought about a massive improvement in the quality of life in these communities, and we will continue with this program until all major community roads are paved.”
“By the Grace of God, the RIA Highway Project will be no exception,” the Liberian Chief Executive said. “I want you to know that our infrastructural development programs have the strong support of our international development partners. We appreciate this support, and hereby assure them of our commitment to utilizing resources put at our disposal for the intended purposes.”
President Weah urged Liberians to take very good care of our road assets and all public infrastructures, noting “the sustainability of these assets depend on proper care and good maintenance.”
The President used the occasion to commend the Minister of Public Works and his hard-working team for making us proud over the first two years of our Administration.
He asserted: “We know that the circumstances are challenging, and that the demands supersede available resources, but you have stood the test of time. We therefore encourage you to continue your hard work, in the interest of the Liberian people.”