Ministers inspects road projects (Thursday February 25, 2010, Spread)

A team of officials from the ministries of Finance and Economic Planning and Roads and Highways yesterday inspected work on some major road projects aimed at improving the road network in the country, as well as sanitising the traffic situation in Accra.

The inspection tour was to enable the two sector ministers learn at firsthand the state of the various projects and interact with the contractors on issues concerning their completion.

Led by the sector ministers of the two ministries, Dr Kwabena Duffuor and Mr Joe Gidisu, respectively, the team’s first port of call was the Achimota-Ofankor road.

Here, work on the project, which is being undertaken by the Messrs China Railway Wuju Group Corporation, was in full scale. It is a Government of Ghana (GoG) funded project which commenced in 2006 and was expected to have been completed in 2009 but it is behind schedule.

The Achimota-Ofankor road project is a 5.7km, three-lane dual carriageway with four foot bridges, a flyover at Achimota Mile 7 and an under-pass at Tantra Hill.

The project, which was estimated to cost GH¢40 million initially, has seen the cost increased to GH¢128 million due to a change in the scope of work.
Briefing the ministers on the progress of work, the Resident Engineer, Ing Shelter Yao Lotsu, said about 70 per cent of work on the project was complete, adding that by June this year work on the dual carriageways would be completed.

He said the delay in the completion of the project was due to the non-payment of arrears, saying, “Occasionally the contractor had to suspend work because of the non-payment of arrears.”

He, however, indicated that “there has been a change in the pace of work after the payment of arrears to the contractor”.

The next place the team visited was the Kwabenya-ACP-Pokuase road where Messrs Fecam Company Limited is carrying out the rehabilitation of the road which is estimated to cost GH¢2 million. On completion, the project is expected to divert traffic leading to the central business district in Accra.

The final place the team visited was the project site of the 4.6km three-lane dual carriageway from the Tetteh- Quarshie Interchange to Madina which is being constructed by Messrs Sonitra Limited at approximately US$59 million.

Here, the Resident Engineer, Ing Ebenezer Gyampoh, said the project would be completed in 22 months.

He stated that the project was delayed not because of lack funds but rather the relocation of some utility structures located at the University of Ghana.

The Managing Director of Sonitra, Mr J.C. Kalfa, said the first phase of the project, which is from the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange to Legon, had been completed, adding that asphalting the remaining portion would be completed by April this year to shift focus to the completion of the flyover and the underpass at the Atomic Junction and the University of Ghana, respectively.

Briefing the media on their impressions of the three projects, Mr Gidisu expressed satisfaction with the progress of work at the three sites, stating that “the roads have seen notable improvement in terms of progress of work”.

“The payment of the arrears to the contractors has seen a drastic change in the progress of work,” he stated.

He said his ministry remained committed to making regular payments to keep pace with the deadlines, adding that similar visits would be made to other project sites dotted around the country.

Earlier at the Achimota project site, Mr Gidisu had urged the contractors to pay the right wages in the construction industry to the labourers.
The Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, for his part, stated that the exercise had been a very productive one, saying, “The Finance Ministry will monitor progress of work on the roads to ensure that the country gets value for money.”

He said although the cost of the Achimota-Ofankor road had increased astronomically, the ministry would do everything possible to facilitate the project.

He, however, advised the contractors to honour the deadlines in order not to incur extra cost for the government.

He expressed worry over the state of the Achimota Mile 7 overpass which he observed was causing a lot of distress to motorists, commuters and residents close to the site.

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