The commissioning of the four-tier interchange at Pokuase, in the Ga West Municipality of Greater Accra Region, by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Friday, is ruffling the feathers of elements of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The massive project started in 2018 two years after the NDC had been booted out of power, and took just 36 months to complete, but the opposition party is now saying that it was the Mahama government that executed the project.
Even ahead of the commissioning by President Akufo-Addo, the NDC were all over social media congratulating Mr. Mahama for a job well done.
Despite all evidence pointing an NPP government project, the NDC posted a document which they claimed covers the agreement for the project dated September 2016, when they were in power, and claimed it was within that period that the project started.
The four-tier interchange at Pokuase is the first of its kind in Ghana, the first of its kind in West Africa, and the second in the whole of Africa.
It was funded with an African Development Bank concessional loan of $83.9 million, with construction works undertaken by Messrs Zhongmei Engineering Group Limited of China.
It was the NDC that negotiated the Pokuase Interchange and pegged the project cost at $84 million, and was supposed to be a three-tier edifice.
When the NDC lost power in 2016, and the NPP took over in 2017, Roads Minister Kwasi Amoako-Atta said President Akufo-Addo got his team to renegotiate the whole Pokuase project, and it was redesigned to become a four-tier interchange at the completion cost, which is lower than the $84 million the NDC government was supposed to pay for a three-tier if Mr. Mahama had won the 2016 election.
The massive project involved the construction of the 6.5-kilometre Awoshie to Pokuase road; an interchange at the intersection of ACP junction to Awoshie to Nsawam road; two (2) footbridges; the widening of the Nsawam road by some two (2) kilometres; drainage works; the provision of streetlights; and the construction of twelve (12) kilometres of town roads.
It also involved the rehabilitation of the Kpobiman Women’s Group Centre to train women in pastry, bread, soap and bead making; the rehabilitation of the Manchie Gari Factory for the processing of cassava into gari and starch; the protection of the three (3)-hectare Gua Sacred Forest; and the provision of ICT labs for fourteen (14) basic schools, which will help train some ten thousand (10,000) basic school children within the Ga North, South, Central and West municipalities with knowledge in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
It is expected to enhance sustainable economic growth for the people in the area, as well as facilitate traffic between the Tema-Ouagadougou-Bamako corridor through Kumasi in the Ashanti Region and those beyond.
Opening the interchange, President Akufo-Addo had said it is expected to help solve, once and for all, the nightmare endured for several decades by commuters within and outside of this vicinity.
The President reiterated that the original contract design was for a three-tier interchange, however, through efficient management by his government, the interchange was modified to a four-tier structure within the same contract sum.
“Indeed, two hundred and eighty-nine million United States dollars (US$289 million) has been used by the Akufo-Addo Government to construct three (3) interchanges, that is at Pokuase, Obetsebi-Lamptey and Tamale, as opposed to two hundred and sixty million dollars (US$260 million) being used, by the Mahama Government, to construct just the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange. These are further examples of the fact that we, in the New Patriotic Party, are good protectors of the public purse,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the Pokuase Interchange is an integral part of comprehensive measures put in place by government to address the issues of congestion in urban centres, and to help improve travel times on major arterial roads.
He told the gathering which included the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, that the government has begun the construction of Phase II of Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange, the Tamale Interchange, the PTC Roundabout Interchange in Takoradi, the Nungua Interchange which is part of the La Beach Road Completion Project, the Adjringanor Overpass, where ongoing works will be completed by the first quarter of 2022, and Phase II of the Tema Motorway Interchange.
In addition to the construction of interchanges, the President noted that government has embarked on a number of projects to improve urban mobility in the country to help reduce travel times on our roads.
“These include the construction of some one thousand, two hundred (1,200) kilometres of asphalt overlay throughout the country in my first term. Beneficiary cities include Accra, Kumasi, Tema, Cape Coast, Sekondi-Takoradi and Hohoe. In Accra, some of the areas that have benefitted include Weija-Gbawe, Dansoman, Abossey Okai, Osu, Adentan, Bubuashie, Sakumono and Mempeasem,” he said.
He also said “the Tema Steelworks Road, the only concrete road to be constructed by government since the Accra-Tema Motorway, has also been completed. Similar works are also being undertaken within the Tema Industrial enclave.”
Additionally, he stated that the Legon/Adjiringanor roads, aimed at improving travel times within that corridor, are fifty-two per cent (52%) complete; the Kumasi Roads and Drainage Extension Project, which includes the dualisation of the Lake Road and lining of the Sissai River Drain in Kumasi, is seventy-five per cent (75%) complete; and the Teshie Link Road, popularly referred to as the LEKMA Road, is ninety per cent (90%) complete.
“Rehabilitation work on the Assin Fosu to Assin Praso highway is currently ongoing, with that of the Agona Junction to Tarkwa highway beginning shortly, as the contractor is mobilising to go to site. Construction of the dualisation of the Sekondi/Adiembra roads, in Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region, will begin next month in August,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Having declared 2021 as the ‘Second Year of Roads’, the President informed Ghanaians that the Ministry of Roads and Highways has programmed to undertake the construction of one thousand, five hundred (1,500) kilometres of asphalt overlay in all parts of the country.
On behalf of the government and people of Ghana, he expressed sincere appreciation to the African Development Bank, who jointly provided funds with government for the execution of the Pokuase Interchange, and charged the Ministry of Roads and Highways to ensure the proper maintenance of the Pokuase Interchange over the design period.
By Ernest Kofi Adu