Mr. Sonnia Jabbie, whilst presenting the Socio-Economic impact of the road to locals on behalf of TECHSULT and Company Limited said the Government in it development agenda has prioritised infrastructural development first because of the economic importance as it improves physical access to rural and riverain communities.
Mr. Jabbie said the rural access index for the project areas of influence is 0.246 which means out of the total population of 31,498 people that will directly benefits from the road, additional 24.4 percent of the rural population in that part of the country will also have access to the road.
The survey noticed that the main sources of water in the project areas are from rivers and streams which locals described as unsafe with high risk on dust pollution and community safety. Despite the fact that transportation fares will decrease upon completion of the road and with more vehicles, there is a risk for more accidents.
Locals in their group work presentations pleaded with the consultancy and the survey team to ensure speed bumps, shelters for protection of passengers and traders are placed in strategic places. They also called for proper drainages, culverts and speedy completion of the road because according to them, some of their produces have perished because of road and market.
On the Traffic and Transport Analysis of the survey, Dr. Shamsu Mustapha said the road is crucial and important because 35 percent of petroleum and 30 percent of food in the country are consumed in Kono. He said gold mining, health, agriculture and educational activities are ongoing in Tonkolili and Kono but because of poor roads those facilities are depreciating.
Dr. Mustapha said the road will reduce travel time, access to health facility in shorter time and will also create fundamental improvement in the lives of locals by doing small scale businesses. He said it will also give an opportunity to residents along the route and the country to have quality road especially in that part of the country.
The project Engineer for TECHSULT and Company Limited, Oba Jones, said their survey shows that commercial motor bikes use the road at present than all other means of transportation, pointing out that after completion of the work, the average travel time will be reduce from Makeni to Kono.
The Engineer said drivers were concerned over speed bumps, footpath, car park, zebra crossing, road signs, among others, which he said the work on the road is not below speck, stating that it is of standards with 1.5m shoulder.