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69% of roads bad; massive rehabilitation underway – Roads Minister

The government has commenced massive road expansion and rehabilitation works to bring relief to road users, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, has said.

He said 69 per cent of all roads in the country were in “terrible conditions”, a situation which was a disincentive to national development.

“It is our hope that Ghanaians will be a little more patient with us while we fix the roads gradually. They should also accept the fact that the government cannot work on all roads simultaneously,” he said.

Speaking on the last day of the Results Fair in Accra, the Roads Minister assured the public that one after another, the government would fix as many roads as possible.

Mr Amoako-Atta said major roads in the cities were currently being rehabilitated.

Eastern Corridor road

Mr Amoako-Atta said among the trunk roads being fixed was the Eastern Corridor road, explaining that work had resumed on that stretch.

The road, which has been the subject of concern for many years, stretches from Tema through Atimpoku, Juapong, Hohoe, Jasikan, Kadjebi, Nkwanta, Kpasa and Oti Damanko to Bimbilla, Yendi, Garu, Misiga to Kulungugu in the Upper East Region.

The 965-km road links five regions, namely, the Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta and Upper East, and it is described as the shortest route between the southern sector and the northern sector of the country.

Mr Amoako-Atta said six contractors had been mobilised to the site and they were currently working.

He promised that the project would be completed before the tenure of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo ends.

“I am happy to announce that as we speak, the Eastern Corridor road, which has been neglected for a very long time, has about six or seven contractors working on that stretch of road. It is a very important road because it links the south to the north,” he said.

Earlier, information from the government had indicated that COCOBOD was funding the Have-Hohoe Lots 1 and 2 (51.3 km) and the Hohoe -Jasikan (32 km) stretches of the road.

Work on these sections ran into difficulties when payments by COCOBOD were suspended.

The Dodo Pepesu-Nkwanta section was being funded by an EU loan of a little over 320 million Euros.

The Sinohydro facility is also covering areas that were yet to see any work on stretches spanning Have to Hohoe and the 168-km section from Oti-Damanko to Gbinitri.

Work in 2015

Worldwide, there is a very strong correlation between a country’s economic development and the quality of its road network.

In April 2015, the Daily Graphic reported that work on the Eastern Corridor road was seeing significant progress after earlier challenges that had nearly scuttled work on the much-talked-about project.

It said the upgrading of the road project, which was made up of a complex mix of roads, was expected to ease access to markets and also enable farmers to increase the value of agricultural produce and ultimately their incomes.

The 55-km of Lot Two, which stretches from Asikuma Junction through to Hohoe, Jasikan and Poase Cement, was awarded to GS International, which at a point abandoned work as a result of the non-payment of work done.

Work has, however, resumed on the stretch.

In 2015, the Asikuma Junction to Peki portion of the project, stretching about 9.5 km, was completed with asphalted surface.

Contractors paid

The government, towards the end of 2019, secured GH¢2.2 billion to defray part of the arrears owed road contractors, estimated to be about GH¢12 billion.

Mr Amoako-Atta said from January 2017 to August 2019, the government paid a total of GH¢1.7 billion of the outstanding arrears.

He said GH¢1 billion of the amount paid to contractors was from the Consolidated Fund and the remaining GH¢1.2 billion from the Road Fund.

The minister said under the payment modalities, all payment certificates valued at GH¢500,000 and below were honoured in full, covering mostly contractors categorised as routine maintenance contractors.

He said that showed the government’s determination to ensure a stable atmosphere in the road construction industry to enable the contractors to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

Source: Graphic online

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