Final works on the wearing course (upper layer) of the 130-kilometer road leading from Harper in Maryland County to Fishtown in Grand Gedeh County is nearing completion, the Project Manager of China Railway No.5, Wong Donghai, has disclosed.
He said also receiving finishing touches is the road connecting Fishtown to Karloken in Maryland County.
Of the total stretch of the road, according to Wong, China Railway has an additional contract to maintain a total of 80 kilometers of paved road from Fishtown to Karloken.
Wong, who spoke the Liberia News Agency from the project site through a video conference on Wednesday, said the company is hopeful that the final pavement of the road will be completed in May this year, adding, however, that the completion date may be extended to August if the rain hampers the ongoing construction process.
“Pavement cannot be done when it is raining, it will affect the quality of the road,” Wong said.
Amidst efforts by the Chinese contractors to ensure that the road is completed in line with schedule, Wong revealed that in implementing the US$57 million project, which is being sponsored by the African Development Bank and the Nigeria Trustee Fund, China Railway has taken keen interest in building the capacity and technical skills of local contractors.
So that the project can be completed in keeping with schedule, Wong wants the Government of Liberia to ensure timely payment of bills, specifically following the submission of Interim Payment Certificate (IPC).
According to him, when IPC is submitted by the company it usually takes about 56 days (nearly two months) before payment is done, but added that sometimes the payment is delayed up to three months, something he said is hampering the operation of the company.
Meanwhile, China Railway has assured that it will ensure that the road work meets professional and quality standards.
According to Wong, the company remains committed to contributing to the infrastructural development of Liberia.
China Railway No.5 Engineering Group is a subsidiary of the transport construction conglomerate, China Railway Group Limited.
The state-owned Chinese company is noted for the construction of subway lines and high-speed rail.
It also has expertise in road construction, hydro, tunnels, project management, and general construction, among others.
The company, which came to Liberia in 1999, also has contracts for road projects in Benin, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Cameroon, amongst other African nations.