Reply with quote #1
My quick estimate is that Lungi bridge should cost around $280-300 million to construct a 4 lane bridge (don't quote me on that). The cost of Mamamah airport has been placed at around $300-350 million. The question is which is the most cost effective. i.e. Which represents better value for money in terms of the potential economic boost they will bring? Should we be looking to do both?
Reply with quote #2
Where is the money for the Lungi bridge going to come from? Money debt from the Chinese? I though the current government was criticizing the previous government for taking more debt to construct Mamamah airport. Wonders never end. I am pretty sure those SLPP supporters who were criticizing the former government for Mamamah are fine with the new direction new bridge and APC supporters are against it.
Reply with quote #3
Money Meter I agree with you. Excessive government spending should be avoided. A bridge to Lungi however would be the perfect project for a toll road rather than the toll road we currently have. Would you agree?
Reply with quote #4
Personally, I am opposed to both projects - Mamamah airport and Lungi bridge. Either is a drain on government coffers now or in the future. I believe we can do with a very efficient ferry system, not what we have now. A privatized ferry system that is efficiently run would still bring the economic goodies that the bridge or the Mamamah airport would bring. The borough of Staten Island of New York city is linked to Manhattan by a well run ferry system. We can do the same in Freetown.
Reply with quote #5
@Kamabai, I like the way you think, in that we do not place enough emphasis on attracting private investment. A private ferry service coupled to a private helicopter service would be great in the short term.
Having said that I still believe Lungi bridge would do wonders for urban regeneration. How about Lungi bridge plus a new airport somewhere like Kono. That way you open up the whole of the country.
Reply with quote #6
Good analysis. My greatest fear about the Lungi bridge relates to maintenance. If we could not repair the King Jimmy bridge for over one hundred years leading to that bridge's eventual collapse a few years ago thereby killing seven people, how can we maintain or repair a seven mile long bridge stretching from Tagrin to Kissy Dock Yard? I am all for a second airport in Kono or Bo. But the question is, what is the volume of air traffic to and from Sierra Leone to warrant a second international airport? Growing up in the 1970s, I saw a properly run ferry system with modern ferries cruising the Freetown estuary. In fact socialites used to have ferry escorts on holidays with bands playing on the ferries. But as the national economy started to struggle, inefficiency resonated in all economic sectors, which led to the eventual collapse of the ferry system. This is why I am advocating private sector intervention. Government does a poor job at running businesses.
Reply with quote #7
We need to look at the reasons why Sierra Leone needs a new airport or a bridge to Lungi. Sierra Leone does not have the financial base to properly maintain a new airport let alone a bridge.
The only justification for these items is tourism. Sierra Leone can earn $200-$300 million annually, if it has decent infrastructure in place to attract tourists: good hotels, roads, communications, restaurants and an ease to travel to the country and its landmarks. Then Sierra will be able to compete with Gambia, Ghana, Kenya , South Africa and the North Africa countries for tourist dollars. . I would prefer the airport as a safer and less riskier venture. Unlike, Nigeria which was in contract with Julius Berger to construct a bridge linking Lagos to Victoria Island , Sierra Leone does not yet have the capacity for the long term maintenance for a bridge to Lungi. No disrespect. I am not yet impressed by the Chinese engineers. A lot of Sierra Leone would perish. The airport would pay for itself in the long run with increased tourist revenue. A $100 tax can be charged to tourists leaving the country. This is done in many Caribbean countries.
Reply with quote #8
I've always felt a small international airport in Kono could be part of a long term diamond market strategy.
Reply with quote #9
I agree with everything you say on our record when it comes to maintenance. That is why any bridge will have to be built and run by private investors with a long term lease. Think of how much you pay to cross by various means today. Investors will make a healthy return in no time.
Reply with quote #10
@Kamabai, I'm just about old enough to remember those ferry escorts. Never went in them myself but knew about them. Great days. Will we experience those again in our lifetime?
Reply with quote #11
"Will we experience those again in our lifetime?" DMK DMK, Lets pray for Brigadier Bio to succeed. Good times will come back.
Reply with quote #12
But wait a minute, guys, what good is a "
", like Kamara stated, in a country where there has never been a productive middle class with robust entrepreneurship to help coordinate with to ensure efficient economic activities? Contractors are going to be needed for bridge and airport maintenance, food suppliers and cleaning services for hotels, transportation contractors for sightseeing and so on. Moreover, tourists are going to need a bang for their money and activities that are culturally and naturally specific to Sierra Leone or Africa are usually the driving forces to encourage tourism. In other words, who is going to own and manage the Sierra Leone Dance Troup? Who owns and manage that five star restaurant that specializes in local dishes? Contemporary African arts are in demand by tourists and who is best fitted to renovate Bunce Island also? decent infrastructure in place to attract tourists The government is working on a long-term process of free education which is a good thing but how about also encouraging Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora for the short-term also?