By: Kebba Ansu Manneh
Ebrima Sillah, Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, has revealed that the much-anticipated Hakalang Road project will be ready in four months.
Speaking to the press during the tour to inspect the ongoing road construction at Bunaidu, Minister Sillag announced that earthworks for the entire project have been completed, followed by laying Asphalt.
President Barrow’s government is undertaking the roads and infrastructure works project with partners’ support.
“This particular road Hakalang is very important to the Government and as well to the President himself and also the communities who are the final beneficiaries of this project. Since the inception of the first republic in 1965 to date this part of the country has not seen the caliber of roads, and now we (the government) are bringing them. For very obvious reasons,” Minister Ebrima Sillah disclosed.
He added, “This particular road poses a real challenge because of the area’s nature; it’s very swampy, and the water table here is very high and very close to the sea and river. As a result, there have been various changes to the original plans for fixing these roads. As the name applies, “Hakalang, ” the President has now ‘Kalang’ this road, and we are hopeful this road will be completed by May/June this year.”
Minister Sillah observed that the ongoing road projects in the hinterland will improve the people’s livelihood, boost trade in the region, and ease women’s access to health facilities. He added that his ministry’s tour will allow him to assess the progress of the works, identify the challenges, and work with the contractors and consultants to ensure that the stipulated dates complete the works.
He expressed his satisfaction with the work so far completed at the various sites visited, including the 55kilometers Hakalang road, the Kerewan-Njawara road, and the Banni/Salikenni/ Njaba Kunda road projects, adding that communities along these project sites will benefit for the first time first-class roads that have never been dreamt of by the people of the area.
Gibril Loum, Project Manager of CSE in Gambia, also discussed his company’s efforts to ensure the designated timeline completes the project. He added that more than 24 kilometers of the Hakalang road had been finished with the Asphalt layer. At the same time, earthwork for the remaining kilometers has also been completed as part of the ongoing project.
According to him, the project, through the blessings of the Ministry of Works, has also extended two-kilometer roads to the Jufureh and Albreda riverside, to the Kunta Kinteh family compound in Juffureh, and the Alex Harley Mosque at Albreda. He added that one hundred twenty-four (124) Gambians, including drivers, surveyors, and technicians, have been employed in the project, with the view to empowering them to learn new skills and technologies that will continue to benefit the country in the long run.
Dembo Samateh, Deputy Governor of North Bank Region (NBR), and Alhagie Jagne, Chief of Central Baddibu, all expressed their gratitude to the Government of The Gambia for attracting road projects for the region. They recall the difficulties encountered by the farmers, the business community, and women and children who bear exorbitant transport fares to and from their communities.