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Sierra Leone News: Landing space, sharp sand affect Bonthe Island construction projects

With barely four months to the deadline date (July 2019), residents in Bonthe Island have started raising concerns over the possibility of the completion of the sea face and township roads construction projects with the current challenges facing the work. It could be recalled the construction of township roads in Bonthe Island started during the previous Administration (APC led government) with some drainage halfway completed and some solar streetlights erected. According to the Mayor of Bonthe Municipal Council, Layemin Joe Sandi, the contractors were finding it very difficult to complete the work, because they were not ready to listen to the advice given by residents on the land topography. He maintained, the previous APC Government at some point would listen to their concerns relating to the development of the Bonthe Sherbro Island, but when they visit the Ministry of Works and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) no one wants to talk to them anymore. “This situation presently with the new administration is quite different,” he said, explaining they are now receiving positive response on time, with the both the Works Ministry and SLRA complying with them. Mayor Sandi disclosed the concepts on the construction of the sea face wall and the roads within the Island have been completely changed as the workers have resolved to work in conformity with the land topography and that is giving them positive result. He maintained one of the greatest challenges facing the ongoing construction is the landing of materials, considering the land topography which is very soft, and this has led the workers to spend more time trying to reinforce some portion to be used as landing site. According to him, the Barge which is transporting the materials will have to wait for hours gauging the water level to offload and return to collect more items. He said such constraints will definitely affect the completion date of the projects as the Barge which is supposed to do four trips a day can only complete one or two. Mayor Sandi said even the dredger that is supposed to dredge into the sea and send the sharp sand to land to reclaim some land areas has been submerged and he is finding it very difficult to operate because the areas they have tested are all dominated with mud. “We are currently searching for a place where we can find sharp sand to refill Morfis Island to enable the road Engineers to do proper work on the township roads,” he said, disclosing this will also affect the timely completion of the projects.  According to the Consultant Engineer of Prospect Engineering Enterprise and Services, Consultant Engineer, Rtd Lieutenant Colonel Emile Dumbuya, said it was as a result of the many erosion that has been taking place which has led to the scarcity of sand within that vicinity. He confirmed there is indeed a challenge in getting sand and landing space for materials to push the work but however maintained they have engaged and have resolved to do drilling to get sand underneath the mud, and the equipment are on their way from Freetown to the Island to do the drilling. “At the moment we are getting sand from Kegar village that is closer to the mining site of Sierra Rutile,” he said, explaining they should have been collecting sand from Yargoi village but because of the economic activities they decided to go to Kegar the village after Yargoi village which is about 50 miles away from the Island. He however assured they would do their best to complete the work within the time frame set as the project is supposed to end in July 2019.

By Alhaji Manika Kamara

Monday March 11, 2019.