Freetown, Baby!

Road to nowhere? by jc2010sl
July 21, 2010, 5:16 pm
Filed under: public life, travels | Tags: , ,
Traffic is pretty horrendous in Freetown, largely because there are only 2 routes to the city. The northern side of Freetown gives out onto the sea and to the south are the steep Peninsula Hills. Heading east the only way out is the Kissy Road, and to the west is the Lumley Road. Pretty much all traffic coming into or out of the city takes one of these roads, with the result that they are always jammed, and sometimes totally grid-locked.

Maybe it’s because the Western end of town is less crowded, maybe because it’s where the political class lives, but on this side, the roads are being widened into dual carriageways. There was a lot of activity clearing a path for the new Lumley Road on Saturday. Groups of people set about the dwellings and shops next to the road with sledgehammers and crowbars gleefully pillaging anything remotely re-usable. Corrugated iron, tyres (to hold roofs down) and long planks were all dragged away. One man was even smashing the concrete off some steel cables that had been used to reinforce it. No less a person than the President himself came to visit the site and review the “work”.

Of course in the long run, improved infrastructure is precisely what the country needs – enabling people to access jobs in town and bring their goods to market. But I doubt there is any form of compulsory purchase equivalent in Salone. And it is the poorest, living in shacks next to the main arteries, who feel the brunt of the development.