Jun 19, 2012 at 11:47am
State Of Roads And Initiative To Improve Them
COMMENTARY ON THE STATE OF ROADS AND INITIATIVE BY GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE THEM
One positive act that has happened in the Greater Accra Region in recent times that has perhaps received very low publicity is the signing of an agreement to reconstruct the Accra East corridor roads. The Ministry of Roads and Highways recently signed two separate agreements with two contractors to reconstruct the Accra East Corridor roads to ease traffic congestion and the environmental problems faced by the people who travel to and from the Eastern part of the Accra Metropolis. The projects involve the reconstruction of the five point seven kilometers (5.7km) Gifford road, the Burma Camp road and some local roads at La., Teshie and Martey Tsuru. Not only that, an interchange will also be constructed on a Gifford road and the Burma Camp intersection and a bridge over the rail line at Martey Tsuru. Again a tunnel will be constructed in front of the air force base to provide access through Burma Camp for public vehicles without passing through the camp. Currently on-going is construction work on roads in Tema Community four and nine which is also intended to ease traffic congestion in the Tema Metropolis. At the moment, work is fast going on, on the Eastern Corridor Roads comprising the Nkwanta - Oti Damongo and Asikuma junction to Hohoe roads. These connect important towns such as Tema, Atimpoku, Hohoe, Nkwanta, Bimbilla, Yendi, Gushiegu, Nankpanduri, Bawku and Kulungugu.
These development initiatives are laudable in the sense that they will shorten the travelling distance between the North and South and improve the life span of vehicles. Roads are avenues to socio-economic development. They accelerate the transportation of food from the growing areas to the marketing centers. It is in the light of this that one is not comfortable with the slow pace of work on roads like the Accra - Teshie, Accra - Kumasi and the Tetteh Quarshie - Pantang road. We are aware some payments were made to contractors working on the roads that have come to be known as the Gang of Four". It is therefore unimaginable why a road like the Tetteh Quarshie - Pantang and the Accra - Kumasi roads should be delayed further. Some of these roads we know were inherited from the previous regime. So this means those particulars roads which are still uncompleted have taken more than three years to complete. With the escalation in the dollar rate it stands to reason that the initial cost of these projects are bound to rise. Government must therefore be proactive and bring the respective contractors on their toes. The dust emanating from some of these delayed projects, pose a nuisance to the travelling public and those who live along the roads. Shops along these roads have been compelled to close down due to their dusty nature. Most of our roads were undeniably constructed in the first Republic and have outlined their live span and it is important that they are reconstructed so that tax payers benefit from the taxes they pay. Drivers who ply the Kpandai - Salaga road in the Northern Region recently had cause to complain about the state of the road which they described as deplorable and risky.
The road network in the country has increased tremendously over the years. Besides more people are buying vehicles which places an onerous responsibility on government to expand the sector to generate adequate income. It is good a lot of toll booths have been installed at vantage points of the country to generate revenue for the maintenance of the roads. Contractors given road projects are enjoined to work assiduously to enable government to achieve its overall objective to ensure free flow of traffic and the movement of people and goods for the overall development of the country. The NI Highways constructed with funds from the Millennium Challenge Accounts is one road network which every Ghanaian admires. We need to replicate these types of roads in all areas both in sharpness and beauty. Our local road contractors have been very disappointing in this regard. A typical example is the one on the Dansoman Highway. Even though the road is now near completion, people believed the contractor has performed below average. With election 2012 just around the corner, people are bound to criss cross the length and breadth of the country to campaign. It is therefore incumbent on government to accelerate the completion of all road projects to ensure value for money.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE A JOURNALIST.