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Sierra Leone News: Savage Street Bridge is a disaster waiting to happen -SLRSA Boss

The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA), Executive Director, David Panda Noah, has warned that the Savage Street Bridge is “a disaster waiting to happen” as road audits have determined that it is unsafe because of nearby mining. “Our role is to do the audits and report to Ministry of Works and Transport and Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) for their attention. That is all I can do. I would like to fix it if I had the mandate,” he responded, after queried by officials from the Ministry of Finance and citizens at the Budget Hearings. Noah went further to say that there are other roads that have serious safety concerns like Pyke Street, Eastern Police, and potholes along the highways and that they don’t only write reports and send them to the above mentioned institutions but also discuss the issues at meetings. SLRA, he said, do the roads and after they are done for the first time the markings and signs are done, but that for road safety they should carry on doing it. “We believe that if granted the mandate to retain some of the funds that we give to the Road Maintenance Fund Authority (RMFA) for road safety will be utilised by making the roads safer through maintenance, road signs and markings.” According to their data, road accidents cost about 14% of the country’s GDP, and the injuries and deaths takes a huge hit on the GDP especially in Africa. “So every road crash, injury is something that we are worried about. So the potholes, the roads, the signs are not our mandate, they are the mandate of SLRA,” he said. Adding, “We would like to have it as the Finance Minister is here he will help us to push to have that, so that we can take SLRA and do those roads, do the signs, fix the potholes and the zebras,” he said. Facilitator Musa Bangura asked about the stationary vehicles that are parked on the road especially at night in fact the long vehicles they have no light, license, reflectors and all one can see is grass?   In his response, Noah said they are required to have the triangular reflectors to tell the oncoming vehicles that they are parked, but most of the time that is not happening and now the Authority is finding space to be able to impound those vehicles. “We have the equipment to move them but we are also looking for a bigger space for the big trailers, as we cannot just move the head because the tail are not to be left there too as they are hazards on the road. Vehicles could go underneath them and people die,” he said. The Authority has now located a space at Mile 38 and they are now clearing a ten acre piece of land to send impounded vehicles. “We have had talks with Freetown Teachers College to lease some of their land for impounded vehicles, as soon as we can get that done you will see the highways cleared,” he promised. He stated that they are working with the Police at Mile 38 checkpoint to track down unlicensed vehicles and drivers. They are also looking forward to upgrade their personnel strength for the entire country when the ban is lifted as Freetown has only 45 Road Corps officers. However, he disclosed they will start fining owners of vehicles that have been parked for years without renewing their licenses, for failing to inform the Authority that their vehicles are off the road. “We will come and take the license plate off you because what happens when people abandon vehicle or park vehicles, criminals remove the licenses plates and use it on other vehicles for criminal activities and that is what we are going to do,” he warned.

ZJ/17/9/18

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Tuesday September 18, 2018.

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