The Mission Director of USAID-Liberia, Dr. Anthony Chan, has toured the demonstration site of Feeder Roads and Alternative Maintenance Program (FRAMP), Palala, Bong County, and called for collaboration between the government of Liberia and local authorities as a means of realizing the maintenance of feeder roads in country.
Dr. Chan said USAID appreciates the effort that has been applied by many Liberians who are involved with the project, especially the four superintendents of Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Bassa counties. He commended them for their commitment to have the work done, noting that the interesting thing about the project is the experimentation part, which is trying to upgrade the road and figure out what is the most economically effective seal, giving the cost and the life of service. “One of the things I care very much about is that all the parties who are involved make a serious commitment to get result. I am determined, as with everyone at USAID—I insist on that internally. I hope we can expect that from the government, partners and residents of Nimba, Bong and Lofa counties,” he said. The USAID boss made these remarks in Ganta, Nimba County on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 when a high power delegation from USAID-Liberia, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Internal Affairs went to Nimba, Bong and Lofa counties to visit demonstration sites and other feeder roads, being upgraded by Feeder Roads and Alternative Maintenance Program (FRAMP). Making remarks at the demonstration site in Palala, Bong County, Deputy Public Works Minister for Rural Development and Community Services, Jackson J. Paye, said the maintenance of feeder roads remains crucial and cardinal in the revitalization of roads across Liberia. Minister Paye emphasized that the on-going works in the four counties are meant for experiment and to investigate which seal is good for feeder roads in Liberia, noting that, given the high volume of rain in Liberia, most of the feeder roads are damaged during the rainy season. He said FRAMP, a USAID-funded project, is carrying out the work to investigate which seal is suitable for Liberia and at a low cost. FRAMP is investigating about six seals in Nimba, Bong, Lofa and Grand Bassa counties. He said inasmuch as the rural roads maintenance program needs to be proactive, the need for adequate funding to speedily jump-start the process cannot be overemphasized, stressing that at present the Gbarnga-Voinjama Highway is being upgraded by FRAMP in preparation for the up-coming election, in order to ease the movement of electoral materials in that part of the country. The Chief-of-Party of FRAMP, Dr. Frederick M. Were-Higenyi, speaking on the tour, said the project is a four-year USAID funded road rehabilitation and maintenance program. He said the overarching goal is to support the government of Liberia to develop, make operational and implement sustainable routine maintenance systems, while piloting innovative, alternative low volume roads seals (ALVRS) construction technique through research and development. He said FRAMP is operating in Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Grand Bassa counties and the implementation period runs from March 2016—March 2020. Dr. Were-Higenyi voiced that FRAMP selected six different types of low-cost seals and is testing them on 200,000 square meters of road surface (about 25km of rural/urban streets) to measure their performance. He disclosed that, based on the field test and observation, FRAMP will prepare manuals and specifications for the three best performing seals. He said the ALVRS being tested are single and double surface dressing, single surface dressing with a sand cover, single and double otta seal using natural or crusher aggregates, single otta seal with sand cover, concrete strips and hand-packed stones. He added that a section of 1.8 km along the Palala-Duta road in Bong County is being used to demonstrate construction of the six seals and to monitor their performance thereafter, stating that FRAMP has established twenty community-based organizations (CBOs) in the four counties, which resulted in the creation of over 150 direct jobs for residents in that part of the country. Also speaking to newsmen, a member of Kukatornor Development Association, a local CBO contracted by FRAMP to work on the feeder roads in Duta, Bong county, David Kien, said the project is bringing many more benefits to the residents of the area, noting that the income being generated is impacting those working on the project. FRAMP-USAID will provide construction and capacity building services on a total of 450km of farm-to-market roads located in Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Grand Bassa counties. These 450km of roads were designed under a previous USAID activity, and are engineered gravel roads which use the principle of basic access, using the Liberia feeder roads design standards. Road rehabilitation work will be funded and procured by USAID directly through a separate mechanism outside of FRAMP scope. FRAMP will provide some technical assistance during procurement, including but not limited to, pre-bid site visits, unit rate analysis and bid evaluation.