- The Sierra Leonean government is now to study the possibilities for rehabilitating the country's road network, which was damaged by the civil war. In particular the regional highway, connecting Sierra Leone with Guinea and Liberia, is under consideration.
The Freetown government has found international funding for the making of studies on the rehabilitation of the Freetown-Lundi and the Bandajuma to Mano River bridge roads in Sierra Leone. The African Development Fund (ADF) today gave a US$ 1.76 million grant for the study.
The roads being considered under the studies form part of Sierra Leone's section of the Trans-West-African Coastal Highway, a regional road linking Sierra Leone with Guinea and Liberia and passing through the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown.
In their current state, the roads are a bottleneck in the regional network, negatively impacting on regional trade and socio-economic integration. The improved road links will therefore contribute towards an enhanced regional trade and facilitate regional integration, an ADF assessment holds.
The overall sector goal of this project was to "contribute to the development of the transport sector in support of the national economic and social development objectives of the country by increasing access of rural farming population and urban poor to market centres and social and economic services," the Fund says in a statement released today.
The objectives were to determine the technical feasibility, economic viability and carry out the environmental and social Impact Assessment of road links between the capital, Freetown, and the Northern and Southern provinces of Sierra Leone linking Guinea and Liberia respectively - and to prepare detailed engineering designs, cost estimates and Tender Documents.
The studies of road links between Freetown and Lungi as well as between Sierra Leone and its regional neighbours were to "determine the economic viability and optimum implementation modalities, which will ease transport problems currently being experienced due to the inadequacies of the existing transport facilities."
These problems included inadequate capacities of the road/ferry link at peak periods, long waiting periods and limited trip frequencies and service unreliability. The reduction or elimination of these difficulties would then result in increased traffic flows, reduction in both total travel time and vehicle operating costs as well as enhanced safety for the travelling public.
The infrastructure further would "support economic activities in agriculture and fisheries due to improved accessibility to markets and faster distribution of agricultural inputs, thereby assist the Government in its effort to reduce poverty, and enhance regional integration within the NEPAD framework," ADF explains.
The Sierra Leonean government's 2003-2007 National Transport Strategy and Investment Plan includes a decision to offer Sierra Leone "a secured, comfortable and rapid transportation link between Freetown and the Northern as well as the Southern Provinces."
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