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Pavement Intensifies On Kribi Port Road

Work is at its peak on the two sections from Kienke bridge to Mboro and officials say movements would be smoother come October 2014.

If ongoing construction work on the multibillion Kribi Deep Seaport Project in the Ocean Division of the South Region is almost complete (about 95 per cent done), paving the way for commercial ships to anchor at the port, the main worry however remains access from the port’s site at Mboro to Kribi town. Pavement works on the 35-km access road from Kienke bridge to Mboro are evaluated at below 50 per cent, casting doubts as to how goods could be conveyed from the port to the other parts of the country were ships to start anchoring there now.

Construction works are therefore at peak on the access roads by Razel Cameroun for Section 1 (about 12.5 km from Kienké bridge to end of Grand Batanga) and Section 2 by China Harbour Engineering Company (about 21 km from end of Grand Batanga to the port site at Mboro).

Kienke Bridge-Grand Batanga Stretch                                                                     

Work here is evaluated at about 43.8 per cent. On the ground, Razel’s heavy-duty machines are turning full circle to render the path smooth for a hitch-free movement of goods and persons to and from the port. While a coat of tar is already placed on some segments of the road, others are still witnessing gravelling. What visibly slows the pace of work on this first section is certainly the multitude of bridges that need to be constructed. Razel’s work on this section of the road consists in rehabilitating bridges on rivers Kienke and Lobe as well as carrying out work on the road.

As Cameroon Tribune plied the stretch of the road on July 7 and 8, almost all the bridges were already concreted as leveling works intensified. Reason why Alain Patrick Mpila Ayissi, the Infrastructure Officer at the Operation Department of the Steering and Monitoring Committee of the Kribi Industrial Port Complex, assured that by September-October, the road would have been completed. He said about eight kilometres of the section is near completion and that when all the leveling work would have been complete, placement of tar could be faster.

Grand Batanga-Mboro Section

Workers of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) are intensifying work on this section of the road, mostly the cleaning and leveling work which Mr Mpila Ayissi said is the most difficult. The contractor is employing every available means to speed up work on developing the 15 km of existing road, carrying out fresh construction on some six kilometres as well as rehabilitating a 60-m bridge on Eboundja. Currently evaluated at 32.5 per cent, work on this section, engineers say, will accelerate once the cleaning and leveling are done.

They said when it comes to placing tar; about one km of the road could be tarred per day. All things being equal, the engineers are hopeful that by September-October all pavement material would have been placed on the road for circulation to be better than what it is now. “We are certain that by the time the port goes fully operational, the road would also be ready to contain the traffic of the movement of goods and persons to and from the port,” Mr Mpila Ayissi said.

Hope in the Horizon

The Kribi-Mboro road under construction now is simply a temporal measure as the project’s plan envisages a double-carriage road as well as railway line for the transportation of heavy cargo. There seems to be hope in the horizon as concerns these long-term infrastructures. The rail infrastructures are to be constructed within the framework of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project.

The government of Cameroon on June 5, 2014 signed a binding and financing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Sundance Resources Limited, an Australian firm leading the multi-billion iron ore projects and a leading international engineering and construction company, Mota-Engil Africa, for the construction of the Cameroon portion of the port and rail infrastructure component of the project.

Meanwhile, a presidential decree of April 8, 2014 authorised the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development to sign a loan agreement with Eximbank China for the latter to loan out 385,808.6 million US dollars (about FCFA 192.91 billion) to Cameroon for the partial financing of construction works on a double-carriage road from Kribi to Lolabe. The Kribi-Lolabe axis estimated at about FCFA 453 million US dollars (about215 billion) seeks to ease traffic to and from the port’s site.

It represents phase one of the project and phase two will be from Kribi to Edea. Sources from the Operational Department of the Steering and Monitoring Committee of the Kribi Industrial Port Complex say feasibility studies on the first phase of the 38.5-km, six-lane double-carriage road project are complete and once Eximbank disburses the funds, construction work could begin. But this will only be after the contract must have been awarded and government chipped in its own 15 per cent counterpart funding. The Chinese loan represents 85 per cent of the project’s funding.

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