As part of the National Authorising Office (NAO) and Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) joint routine monitoring exercises, a team of journalists were taken on a monitoring visit to Mabang Bridge along the Songo-Moyamba Road and Magbele Bridge along the Masiaka-Rogbere Junction Highway to assess progress of works.
The bridges are part of the €40.7 million Moyamba-Moyamba Junction Road and Bridges project funded under the 11th European Development Fund as part of EU’s support to the Key Infrastructure project in Sierra Leone
Speaking to journalists on the newly constructed Magbele bridge, NAO Director Ambrose James said the visit was to take stock of any challenges and ensure contractor and consultant are adhering to agreed specifications in the contract. He said the monitoring visit was also to help the NAO as facilitating authority, SLRA as technical supervisory authority and the contractors to jointly discuss and review progress and where necessary make possible amendments and ensure adherence to timelines.
Briefing journalists on the Magbele Bridge, CSE Engineer, Abdulai Mbow said the overall project length of the Magbele Bridge with the approach roads is 790m long and the approach roads are 627m long. The bridge structure is 163m long and 10.8m wide to the pedestrian handrail and the carriageway is 7.2m wide.
The Deputy Team Lead/Bridge Engineer, Politechnica, Alemu Damena who spoke on the new 231 metre span Mabang steel bridge said the bridge will have a construction of 312 metres paved access roads on either side of the bridge and the bridge has 163 metre span composite of steel girders
Director of Planning, Policy and Research at the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) Engineer Vandy French, said the SLRA who is responsible to provide technical supervision are satisfied with quality of work done so far. Engineer French said 92% work has been done on the Magbele Bridge and 86% on the Mabang Bridge.
The Magbele Bridge works started on 9th April, 2018 with topographic and geotechnical investigations. So far, the deck slab, side walk, approach slap are completed. Approach road also complete at both side of the bridge including handrail, guardrail, solar lamps installation for the bridge structure.
Engineer Abdulai Mbow said protection work, work drain, guardrails, pavement marking, traffic signs installation, and side slope shaping for the approach road are expected to be completed soon on the Magbele Bridge.
On the Mabang Bridge, Engineer, Alemu Damena said the deck slab concreting is complete except for the side walk, and works on the approach road, abutment backwall and wingwall concreting works and handrail installation are in progress.
Since the collapse of the Mabang bridge on the 22nd February, 2013 there are no vibrant commercial activities going-on in that part of the country, but with the completion of the bridge this year, it will enhance trade and commerce in communities along the Songo-Moyamba road and Sierra Leoneans will no longer endanger their lives using canoes and hand pull ferry to cross the Ribbi River.
The bridge which boundary’s Koya chiefdom in Port Loko and Ribi chiefdom in Moyamba districts has been a major infrastructural challenge since its collapsed eight years before commencement of work on the bridge on 26th March, 2018.
Ambrose James said both bridges are expected to be commissioned in the first half of this year and it will be a major milestone that will eventually transform traffic flow and facilitate goods and services across regions, and will also reduce vehicle operating costs and travel time.