Tanyi Tanyi Willington: “Works Are 73-82 Percent Finished”

South West Regional Delegate of Public Works.

 The 151-kilometre Kumba-Mamfe road is a cherished project to the entire South West Region and beyond. What is the state of that project whose works began some 30 months ago?

The Kumba-Mamfe road project is divided into three portions. The three portions are grouped into two lots for two contractors executing the project.  The first lot comprising two portions from Kumba to Kumbe Bakundu and from Kumbe Bakundu to Nfaitock. These first two portions are being worked by the China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) whose base is in Mabanda (near Kumba). Its cost is CFA 33 Billion to be finished in 36 months for a total distance of 105 kilometres. The second lot is from Nfaitock to Bachuo-Akagbe done by the Jiangsu Provincial Transportation Engineering Group Company Limited located in Bakebe in Tinto Sub-Division (Manyu) for CFA 22 Billion in 36 months. The distance is 46.88 Kilometres. All these works are supervised by a consulting firm called CIMA International.

 When did the works begin and when are they expected to finish?

The contracts were awarded since 2014. They were awarded during the rains. Because of the rains, the two contractors had an additional time to enable them cover up their jobs. I can say here that the first contractor which is CCCC is at work execution rate of 82% while the time consumed is 88%.  The second contractor, Jiangsu Provincial Transportation Engineering Group Company Limited, is at an execution rate of 73% while the time consumed is 88%, too. In reality, they were supposed to have delivered their jobs by now (date of the interview last week of July 2017). They are out of time but the government has given them an additional time of six months each which will enable them to finish their jobs.

What is the nature of the works they were supposed to do?

Like any other roadwork, they had to do earthworks, construction of forms, and the foundation. Then we have the base course done with aggregate and a coat of tar of five centimetres of bitumen. Then, we have the sidewalks of 1.5 metres. They are also building drainage structures, ditches for the run-off and road signs that are put horizontally and vertically.

Where were the displacements done and were they compensated?

In Manyu Division in particular, and in the South West Region, in general, people build lineally along the road. All the villages are touched but perhaps one or two houses in each village are knocked out. You cannot do this type of work without displacing people. Displacement does not mean we carry people from here to a different place. If your house is on the carriage way, you will be demolished and compensated. I cannot give you exact figures now. This is because normally it is the Senior Divisional Officers that handled those aspects of compensation.

What impacts has the road on the South West Region?

The Kumba-Mamfe road is so dear to the people. It serves for transportation of persons, goods, farm produce. It unites the people. It facilitates trade between Nigeria and Cameroon. Traffic has been intensified on this road linking the South West and the North West Regions. If you go along this road, you will see the intensified commercial activities between Cameroon and Nigeria. Business has increased between Kumba and Mamfe and Mamfe and Bamenda has increased tremendously.

What are some of the difficulties that this project might have encountered?

Where there are road works there are always problems because we deal with underneath. Perhaps, something that the studies did not foresee at the beginning, during the construction it arises.  For example, some of the problems that the contractors face are the stones. The stones envisaged for material for construction, the first test was proven to be good stones and after in-depth excavation, they were proven not good. So, there is need for change of stones. The change takes time and increases the duration of the project. In many places, we discovered underground water, which was not foreseen and it increases the cost of the project because of new techniques to treat this type of places. They also faced problems of resistance from the villages where the companies are removing stones for the project. Perhaps the companies did not respect the clauses before entering to exploit their material. At certain places, especially at Mbakwa Supe, work had to stop for one week until the Administrative Authorities intervened. Another big problem is that of rain. South West is known to have prolonged rainfall. Out of 12 months, we have eight to nine months of rains here. This also slowed down the activities of the enterprises.

What other thing do you like the people of the South West to know about roads in their Region?

I want to tell the population that after the Kumba-Mamfe road, there is Kumba-Ekondo Titi which has just kicked off.  This project has just started in the middle. The project should run from Loum to Akwa in the Bakassi Peninsular. It links the Moungo Division in the Littoral Region to Meme and Ndian Divisions in the South West Region. The first lot Kumba-Ekondo Titi has just started. After this, the second lot will continue. It might either be Ekondo Titi Mundemba Akwa or Kumba-Loum.

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