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Too many potholes in the capital

Too many potholes in the capital

From Bai Bureh Road in the east to Goderich in the far west, the same cry is heard all over the city: too many potholes on major streets of  Freetown.

These potholes have been neglected for far too long that they have developed into craters, measuring the depth of a mining pit, so to speak.

This year’s heavy rains in July and August caused a lot of damage to our roads; in some instances, the rains have washed away the tar or surface layer of what used to be a smooth road. Like one observer described them, the potholes have become death traps to motorists especially those who drive during night hours.

Visible but dangerous potholes could be found on entering the city from the Calaba Town axis, precisely at the Foamex area. For the past year or so nothing has been done to repair that portion of the road, the New Bai Bureh Road. Along Kissy Road, the potholes are so numerous that it is gradually becoming a graveled road, more so the distance between Savage Square and Patton Street.

The same could be said of Fourah Bay Road which has long been abandoned. The same with Goderich Street, Circular Road where a shameless attempt has been done especially at the Christ Church end to cover the ditch with mud, but the incessant rains have just rubbished that effort.

Sanda Street, Campbell Street, Kroo Town Road, Lightfoot Boston/Gloucester Street junction and many more of these streets that we cannot find space to mention here, all compete to display their widest and deepest potholes in Freetown, the pride of Sierra Leone. The most embarrassing is a ride on the ‘new’ Congo Cross Road which was intended for Queen Elizabeth II to ride on during our 50th independence anniversary celebration. The emerging potholes on this road leave many questions unanswered.

The truth is many of these potholes have existed since 2007 without any effort on the part of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) to amend these roads.

We are confused to note that while the Ernest Bai Koroma government is frantically constructing new roads or expanding existing ones ahead of 2012, it has failed to address the painful experience motorists go through while they drive on these potholes.

One senior SLRA official spoken to in respect of the poor state of the roads in Freetown said the Authority is completely empty. There are no funds at the moment to engage in any road improvement, the officer emphasized.

We are told that since coming into office of this government, SLRA became a pool centre where every minister or senior official of government go on weekends either for gallon of fuels or ‘per diem’ to travel to the provinces.

Secondly, the road fund which largely supports SLRA road activities including the payment of staff salaries is in the red,’ the official told Sierra Express Media recently.

It does not need further explanation; SLRA has no money to embark on new projects including repairs of roads. The fact of the matter is that SLRA has been heavily politicized. And until sanity is restored to that once enviable institution, our roads would continue to be inundated with potholes.

This is the sad story of our Freetown roads.

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