Bertil Harding Highway Project Coming up with Another Phase

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By Arfang M.S. Camara, Communications Officer, NRA

The National Road Authority (NRA) in a press release said discussions are on-going for a Bertil Harding-Highway Phase 3.

Details of this were revealed at a press briefing held at the National Roads Authority office in Bijilo on Wednesday 17th January, 2024.

Phase 1 (Airport junction to Senegambia) and Phase 2 (Senegambia to Sting Corner) are currently under construction and approximately 70% complete as at end of December, 2023.

Phase 3 aims to enhance safety as well as improve functionality and operational performance of the road network.

Ousman Sanyang, Managing Director of the National Roads Authority (NRA), noted that there are few areas that they want to concentrate on for the third phase of the Bertil Harding Highway.

The first thing, he said, is the provision of safe crossing points for pedestrians. “As you can see crossing six lanes of traffic is really hard for a lot of people, even able-bodied people are finding it very difficult, much more so than the physically handicapped, and disabled people.”

He further stated that when the current road is completed, there will be safe at-grade (i.e., at ground level) crossing points at designated locations along the road.

He added that there are ongoing safety barriers currently being erected, and these will be provided along the length of the road to ensure pedestrians are channeled to dedicated locations where they can cross the road safely.

As part of Phase 3, he said, they are considering pedestrians crossing at a different level, which includes pedestrian footbridges being provided across the road.

The construction of the service roads is also considered for Phase 3. The service roads were initially meant to be built as part of the network. These will “reduce pressure on the main road itself, and more importantly provide access to the residences and commercial activities along the Bertil Harding Highway.”

He further stated that Phase 3 will investigate access and connectivity to provide choices for people to go to where they want to or to be able to access the road from where they are coming from, which is important.

The NRA Managing Director, Mr Sanyang, highlighted concerns about drainage, and that the NRA does not want to build roads that get flooded, noting that Phase 3 seeks to undertake a comprehensive review of drainage for Bertil Harding Highway as well as the surrounding area to ensure that runoff created from the road is captured and discharge to outfalls in an efficient manner.

Mr Sanyang emphasized the need for the control and enforcement of driver behavior on Bertil Harding Highway.

“In roads like this there is a need for speed cameras to help the police on enforcement, and this is considered for Phase 3 of Bertil Harding Highway.

“We also want to move to the next stage of road building in this country, “which is the Intelligent Transport System (ITS),” says the NRA MD Mr Sanyang. These systems and facilities when implemented will inform drivers (in real-time) of congested areas (i.e., heavy traffic), areas of accidents happening, and traffic being diverted on to alternative roads.”  

Mr Sanyang also spoke about the recent accidents on the TransGambia Highway, some of which were fatal and involved vehicles not registered in The Gambia. He assured the public that NRA is fully aware of this as an institution, noting that they are addressing them through collaboration and engagement with the police and relevant stakeholders.