By Frank Amponsah
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the completion of the Phase one of the Tema motorway Interchange under his leadership is a fulfillment of a promise to the Ghanaian people.
According to him, the completion of the project is such a welcome development since his government made a pledge to the Ghanaians to expand and improve the road network, while closing the missing links in the networks.
He said the unprecedented infrastructure development of the Mahama administration was imaginary existing in the Green Book and not on the ground and that it is about time the Mahama-led NDC stop making such claims.
He said “We had to make this pledge because we knew that the so-called unprecedented infrastructure development of the Mahama administration was a fantasy existing in the Green Book and not on the ground.”
The President made these remarks last Friday when he commissioned the first phase of the newly constructed $56 million Tema Motorway Interchange.
The President assured commuters that the second phase of the project will commence by the last quarter of the year and that the project is aimed at bringing to an end the unbearable traffic situation along that stretch.
President Akufo-Addo pointed out that for many years, residents living in and around the Tema Metropolis and motorists plying the route have had to endure the inconvenience of unbearable traffic at the main Rotary Roundabout and a poor road network.
To this end, he said, “Today, we are witnessing an end to this unacceptable situation with the inauguration of the newly constructed Tema Interchange, which is part of the Ghana International Corridors Project.”
President Akufo-Addo further noted that the second phase of the Tema Interchange would see the transformation of the parallel two-tier interchange into a three-tier one to hasten further the turnaround time at the intersection.
“Phase two of the Tema Interchange scheduled to commence at the last quarter of this year. This would see the transformation of the current two-tier interchange into a three-tier one, and hasten further the turnaround time at the intersection,” he added.
He revealed that, to ensure efficiency of transportation on the roads, other projects are also underway to complement the project.
This, he said included the construction of the 64.4-kilometre Ashaiman Roundabout-Akosombo Junction road at a cost of €256 million from the KFW, the Germany development bank.
The President said, the project would see the current single carriageway of the Akosombo road expanded into a multi-lane dual carriageway, service roads, the construction of interchanges at the Ashaiman Roundabout and the Asutsuare Junction in the Shai Osudoku District in the Greater Accra Region.
The dualisation of the 17-kilometre stretch of the Tema-Aflao road project, which was also expected to cost $105 million, would tie the trans-African highway project from Lagos to Abidjan, while the current two-lane dual carriageway would be expanded into a three-lane carriageway per each direction.
He also said the valuation of the Accra-Tema Motorway expansion into a three-lane dual carriageway and service roads under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement had been completed and that “we are awaiting approval from the PPP Committee of the Ministry of Finance to engage the contractor”.
“The economic benefits of these and many other trunk roads being undertaken by the Ghana Highways Authority, the Department of Urban Roads and the Department of Feeder Roads will be immense. Government is committed to the successful completion of all the projects, and I urge the Ministry of Roads and Highways to see to their expeditious completion,” he said.
This year being the year of roads, the President further assured that similar road projects would be constructed across the length and breadth of the country.
He cautioned motorists to be aware of their responsibility in the use of the country’s roads and noted that the severity and frequency of accidents on the country’s highways, due to speeding and indiscipline, were a great reproach to the entire country.
“Motorists need to be extra careful and disciplined on the highway and resist the temptation of speeding. Better roads should be a catalyst for national development and not instruments of death and pain. It is time we brought road accidents in our country under control,” he said.
On his part, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta, said traffic congestion at the roundabout had been a major challenge for many years which impeded the smooth and safe movement of people and goods.
He therefore urged the Ghana Harbours Authority (GHA) to ensure the completion of all ancillary works to ensure the successful take-off of the second phase
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno expressed joy for being part of a memorable ceremony such as this in Ghana, saying that it has “strengthened the Japan-Ghana friendship partnership”
“Japan would continue to foster partnerships with Ghana, particularly in the areas of road infrastructure and agricultural development. We are a long-standing supporter of Ghana’s socio-economic development and the Noguchi Memorial Institute remains one of our valuable contributions to Ghana,” he said.
The phase one of the Tema Motorway interchange project which lasted for 28 months, was financed with a grant of $56 million (Six billion Yen) secured from the Japanese government and undertaken by Messrs Shimizu Dai-Nippon, a Japanese construction firm.