The Minister of Public Works, Emmanuel NGANOU DJOUMESSI, embarked on a working visit in the West with Manyu and Lebialem Divisions, from January 30 to February 1, 2018, accompanied by the Secretary of State in charge of roads, Louis Max AYINA AHANDJA, with close collaborators to twig the upgrading of the Dschang-Fongo tongo-Menji-Bakebe stretch of road undergoing rehabilitation. The visit previewed to assess the level and quality of work already done on the field, followed by an evaluation meeting with stakeholder.

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The upgrading on this stretch of road carried out by the National Civil Engineering Equipment Pool (MATGENIE) is to enforce the double link between the Menoua division in the West region and the Lebialem division in the Southwest region. Looking at the work done on the field, traffic now flows steadily without any disturbance.

From past record, the road was in a dilapidated state where traveling was a difficult task to the people, following the work so far, the bad experience is something of the past now. Thus, the situation of the road is as follows:

The length of the roadway is 90km while the width with foundation has been erected from PK 18+200 to PK 55 towards Menji. Work from PK 0000 to PK 45+800 is perfectly executed, while on PK 18+200 to PK 30, embankment has been done right up to PK 18+200, PK 32, PK 0+900 and PK45. Cleaning of pits, Nozzle cleaning and creation of the outlets runs from PK 19, PK23, PK23+500, and PK 24, while on PK 0+000 to PK 45+600, most of the nozzle to be installed has been done. However, the critical and monotonous portion was the Moonhead (Menji) that runs from PK 42 to PK 46 which has actually been treated up to 80%. As of now, the total physical progress of work stands at 60%. It should be noted at this juncture that this stretch of road is divided in to two sections; the first section starts from Dschang to Menji while the second runs from Menji to Bakebe.

Towards the Maboh center in Fontem subdivision, a steel bridge call Nsoko of 20ml caught the attention of the minister who queried to know why the bridge hasn’t been preserved. Thus, the regional delegate of the Southwest Region and the Mayor of the Fontem subdivision were urged to give proposals about its reparation.

During the meeting session, the Mayor of Menji municipality expressed the heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the people of that community, he said; “I thank the minister for taking such a drastic measure to embark on a crucial area like Lebialem despite the recent killings of military gunmen in the division, I am so overwhelmed Mr. Minister, Firstly, because of the rehabilitation works on the Dschang-Fontem-Bakebe stretch of road, secondly,because your Excellency has come to witness things for himself. The Dschang-Fontem-Bakebe stretch of road has been the main cry of the Lebialem man! We are using this opportunity to thank the government of His Excellency, President Paul Biya, through your Ministry for a wonderful work done on the Regional Road 19. We are thanking the government because the said road is very important to the Lebialem man since it serves as corridor of inflow transportation of goods from the Federal Republic of Nigeria via Ekok-Mamfe-Bakebe-Fontem-Dschang to Bafoussam. In the rainy season, an average Lebialem man pays 15.000 (fifteen thousand francs) to Dschang travelling under very difficult condition. However, all charges are presently evident with 7000FCFA thanks to the rehabilitation. Like Oliver twist, the people cry for the development of a unity road, which is Menji-Bachati-Besali-Bamumbu stretch of road linking the West, Southwest and Northwest regions”.

The General Manager of the National Civil Engineering Equipment Pool (MATGENIE), ABOGO TANG Desire, on his part said; “Equipment has been mobilized alongside works, due to the inaccessibility of the road during the rainy season. So, our priority was to treat the important sections before our intervention movement between the two seasons, which was, passing through the Moonhead was a difficult task, but now the problem of the Moonhead is history. However, much has been done as for as work progress is concerned. Following the Minister’s instruction, we have to balance the road with stabilized productsBesides that, some difficulties were encounter, there was a technical problem since the site was very rocky, engines could not involve easily, the spontaneous site was very stiff and caused constant break down of trailers, after Fongo-Tongo the trailer could not carry heavy machines. There was equally a problem of lateritic pits which were very scarce, that makes the transportation from borrowed pits to the base very difficult thus, hindered the work”.

After the brief exhortation, the Minister of Public Works in a press briefing said; “I am satisfied with the work done on Dschang-Fontem-Bakebe stretch of road, although more is still to be done to stabilize the road so that movement will be carried out during the rainy season without any difficulties. I have instructed the National Civil Engineering Equipment Pool to mobilize stabilizing products. Funds are available for the compensation of the victims as well as the completion of work, and the 28 priority projects under construction in most regions. This is a decision taken by the Head of State, President Paul Biya for these roads to be completed before the beginning of the African Nations Cup.

Economically, it is worth noting that if this stretch of road is tarred, the people in the Lebialem division will improve and increase the production and marketing of cocoa, coffee, palm oil, plantains, cassava and cocoyam, which will expand their living standard.

Conclusively, the delegation moved further to visit the works of the road to open up the agricultural basin of the West region, where the Minister observed that Lot 1 (Baleveng-Bangang-Batcham-Mbouda-Bagam-Galim of 110km) had a delay of work execution. Measures were taken to boost productivity within ESER Contractor, in charge of the works. In dismay, the Minister gave firm caution and a deadline for the works to be done perfectly and delivered, if not, the contract will be withdrawn and handed over to another competent contractor.