Brikama Car Park drivers call for a permanent road GNTSC Official Replies

By Kebba Jeffang

Drivers who use the Brikama Car Park to collect and discharge passengersBrikama Car Park are calling on the local government authority to construct a quality and long lasting road than spending resources on temporal measures.

They raised this concern yesterday, 3 September, 2014 when this reporter visited the Brikama car park and the road linking it to the main road which drivers said is in a poor state and needing urgent re-construction. They contended that a permanent solution is what is needed with a quality road constructed rather than filling pot holes or spreading laterite on it as a temporary measure. They also questioned why the Brikama Area Council (BAC) should spend money just for a temporal measure.

One of the drivers who prefers anonymity, said the road has been in such a bad condition for so quite a long time now and that the Area Council should once and for all come up with a permanent solution to fix it. “We are paying road tax and other dues and deserve good roads in return,” he said.

He added that the poor condition of the roads is costly as it leads to frequent breakdowns and repairs of their vehicles. “We cannot continue doing this every year by fixing here and there when the rain starts,” he complained.

Another driver raised the issue of the lack of space in the car park, adding that the place is too tight. “Because of this, many passengers wait for the vehicles on the roadside especially when it is raining as the place turns into a no go area due to its tightness and muddy nature,” he said.

He added that this is not even allowed by the police who would ask them to go to the car park.

Responding to the concerns raised by the drivers, Mr. Ansumana Ceesay, the Vice Chairperson of the Gambia National Transport Control Service (GNTCS)-Brikama Branch, said the Brikama car park was built since 2004 and that the road in question started getting damaged only three years ago. He said since then both the Council and the car park management under GNTSC have been spending huge amounts of money in reconstructing the areas that are damaged on a temporal basis. He said the road needs to be made with concrete to ensure a permanent solution.

Mr. Ceesay said before the rainy season this year, the BAC had received nearly a million dalasi from GAMWORKS to work on the road. He said they could not pay for the service at once because the cheque was only accessed after three months and which coincided with the commencement of the rains. He added that BAC decided to take out some amount in order to temporarily fix the road until after the rains when they will start the construction of a permanent road.

On the issue of the lack of space, the Brikamam Branch GNTSC Vice Chairperson denied that the place is tight. He blamed the drivers who ply the Serekunda – Brikama route for not following the rules of the garage.

“We provide different sections in the garage for the different locations. All the others are following this order but the vehicles from Serekunda are not following this procedure. They just come straight and pass through without joining the queue and thus causing blockage in the garage,” said Ceesay.

This reporter will be meeting with the BAC PRO today to hear their version of the issue.