By Lamin Njie
Assistant Information Officer
Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure (MoTWI), is implementing several infrastructure projects in different parts of The Gambia, and in order to gain up-to-date information on the progress and challenges of the projects, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Mod K. Ceesay, led a team to visit all the work sites.
The senior officials of MoTWI, were Ebrima Colley, Deputy Permanent Secretary-Technical, Matarr Ceesay, Director of Technical Services and Mariama Fofana, Principal Assistant Secretary. While The National Roads Authority (NRA), were represented by Momodou Senghore, Managing Director, George Jatta, Director of Technical Services and Bannie Taiwo Chapman, Senior Feeder Roads Manage.
The team started their visits in Banjul, at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara mausoleum, under construction at the National Assembly grounds, which is scheduled to be completed by April this year; the mausoleum will be both a memorial and information center on the life of the first President of The Gambia.
The PS and his team then proceeded to the sites of the Banjul Rehabilitation Project, which is addressing the roads, sewage, and drainage systems of the capital city, which are in severe states of disrepair. The team crossed over to the North Bank Region (NBR), where the Ministry is constructing 84 kilometers roads in the Nuimi-Hakalang area, funded entirely by the government of The Gambia.
One of the newly concrete streets in Banjul
The Hakalang lacks basic infrastructure and has been neglected since independence; the roads will boost economic activities in the area, and will provide access to health care and education facilities, markets, farmlands, and will connect communities within the area as well with other regions of country. While in NBR, the PS and his team inspected the new Governor’s Offices and Residence in Kerewan, which is under construction.
The new North Bank Governor’s Offices and Residence currently under construction
The Team visited the pavement strengthening of the 24 kilometers of the Trans-Gambia Highway. The road, when completed in 18 months, is expected to boost trade between Gambia, Senegal and beyond. Furthermore, it will also ease the flow of busy traffic around that part of the country.
The team later proceeded to the roads under construction in the Saloum and the Sabach Sanjal areas. This 86 kilometers road project which is costing government D1.6 billion locally, is divided into lots. Lot 1, awarded to Arezki Construction Company, starts from Saba Sukoto to Bambali, Sarakunda to Ngayen Sanjal, covering a distance of 38 kilometers.
Lot 2, awarded to CSE construction company, covered Kaur to Jimbala, Kaur to Kerr Uldeh and Kaur –Janneh to the Senegalese village of Kerr Chaindu, covering a total distance of 48 kilometers.
The project is expected to be completed within 16 months.
On their way back, they visited the Kiang Sankandi – Karantaba road project. The project, which will be in phases, is expected to cover the first phase of 39 kilometers of road networks within Kiang, as at now, out of a total of 87 kilometers road networks to be entirely funded by the government of The Gambia. The ultimate aim of this phase of the project is to connect major districts in Kiang, such as Kemoto, Tankular, Joly, Jali, Manduar and the rest of the other settlements in the hinterland of Kiang, in a bid to bring them closer to the main south bank road of The Gambia.
The D35 million dalasis new Brikama market currently under construction was also visited by the team. The construction of this new market came following a fire outbreak that completely burned down the market sometime last year. Construction works is going satisfactorily and is expected to be completed in few months’ time. The project is entirely funded by The Gambia Government.
As part of the review, the team visited the urban road projects and the VVIP lounge at The Banjul International Airport, which are part of the preparations for the Organization of The Islamic Conference (OIC) summit.
The 5.6 kilometers Farato- Jambur road under construction by Hage group is progressing, though not at the speed as expected. The project is expected to last for 12 months. The Kunkujang/Mariama stretch was also visited and work is steadily progressing.
Giving an overall comment on the site visits, PS Mod K. Ceesay said the tour was meant to ascertain the progress and challenges of projects under implementation by the ministry. He noted that over the last five years, the ministry has delivered quite a number of roads, bridges and new markets in all regions of The Gambia.
“This visits to the projects across the country, will avail me and my team the opportunity to hear from the contractors, consultants, and the beneficiary communities, what their needs are and for us to see for ourselves what the most critical issues are that needs urgent interventions from our end as a Ministry,” he said.
According to him, all the projects visited are doing well even though delays are registered in some of them, adding that discussions will be held and mechanisms put in place to address the issues as soon as possible.
PS Ceesay finally called on all stakeholders to work together for the successful implementation of these projects describing them as very important for the socio-economic activities of the people of the Gambia and beyond.
PS Ceesay in Kaftan with his team of engineers on inspection at the main junction of Jarra-Soma