After 12 years of lobbying, appeals, demonstrations and promises to construct the Lake Road in the Ashanti region, two construction companies have started working on the road.
The work on the Lake Road is part of road works on 260 kilometres (km) stretch of roads within the Kumasi Metropolis and its adjoining municipalities under the Greater Kumasi Town roads facelift project.
The strategic location of the road makes it the main link from Kumasi and other locations to Lake Bosomtwe, a leading tourist attraction in Ghana surrounded by the Bosomtwe District, Bosome Freho and the Bekwai Municipality all in the Ashanti Region.
Aside from the link to Lake Bosomtwe resort at Abono, it also serves as a link road from Kumasi to Bekwai, Cape Coast and other southern parts of the country.
Ghana News Headlines
For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page
The daily heavy vehicular movement on the road due to the large number of local and foreign tourists who visit the lake resort makes it very crucial to the nation’s economy.
Christened “Extension of the lake road” the project comprises a dual carriageway asphalt road from the Ahinsan Coca Cola stretch to Abidjan Nkwanta covering a distance of 11.5 km and a single lane asphalt road from Abidjan Nkwanta to Abono which is yet to be awarded on contract.
To avoid time wasting and other delay of the projects, the dual carriage road has been divided and handed over to two different contractors.
Funding for the Ahinsan Coca Cola-Dompoase junction stretch was from the French government through its development agency; L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The Dompoase junction to Abidjan Nkwanta project on the other hand is being funded by the Government of Ghana through the Road Fund. Each of the projects is expected to be completed within two years.
An excavator at work at the High Tension area at Esreso
To ensure speedy completion of the entire Lake Road projects, it has been divided into three slots; the Ahinsan Coca Cola to Dompoase junction dual carriage work covering a distance of three kilometres is being undertaken by CHICO Ghana Ltd, a Chinese construction company.
The second segment which starts from the Dompoase junction to Abidjan Nkwanta covering a distance of 8.7 km is being undertaken by Kofi Job Ltd, a local construction company, while the third part which starts from Abidjan Nkwanta to Abono, covering a distance of 18 km, has not been awarded on contract yet.
A bridge construction site at Ahinsan
Works by CHICO involves the construction of a bridge over the Sissai River at Ahinsan, extension of the storm drain from the Ahinsan Bridge to a stretch of about 2.5 km towards Kaase and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Ltd (BOST) area as well as the extension of the Lake road from Ahinsan to Dompoase junction.
It would also relocate the Atonsu-Agogo lorry station to a new terminal at Dompoase to pave way for the construction of the road as well as relocate the Atonsu-Agogo market.
Upon completion of the storm drain works, it is expected to reduce drastically or end the perennial flooding which leads to loss of lives and property.
A section of the Sissai River Ahinsan where the extension of the drainage system is being done
A tour of the project sites by the Daily Graphic showed that CHICO is currently working on the storm drain from the Kaase section towards Ahinsan.
The various utility providers, which are Power Distribution Services (PDS), Ghana Water Company and the telecom providers are also engaged in the movement and relocation of their lines, pipelines and underground cables.
Construction works being undertaken by Kofi Job Ltd, stretch from Dompoase junction to Abidjan Nkwanta and involve the construction of a dual carriage road and a bridge over River Oda on the outskirts of Feyiase.
Many structures including the Feyiase Police Station have been earmarked for demolition due to their location within the reserved areas for the road construction.
Communities that would be affected mostly by the construction by Kofi Job would be Esreso, Feyiase and the Aputuogya due to their closeness to the area earmarked for the road works.
The two construction companies have employed many youth in the project communities as truck drivers, excavators operators, technicians, security among others.
This has reduced the large numbers of unemployed youth in the communities and the region as a whole.
The leadership of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) are not happy with the proposal to move the Atonsu-Agogo lorry station to a new terminal at Dompoase to pave way for the construction of the road.
According to Peter Kwame, Vice Chairman of the Esreso-Bekwai branch of the union, the new location being offered them was not good for them, since it was too far for passengers to walk to board vehicles especially at night.
The members suggested that the new terminal is relocated inside the Kumasi Shoe factory which is currently not functioning and had a large space to contain all their vehicles.
According to them the new station is too small for all their vehicles, adding that if the decision was not reversed it might lead to drivers creating illegal stations along the Lake Road where they could easily get passengers.
“How can you take decision for hundreds of drivers and other road users over relocation without involving those your decision was going to affect?
They should have brought us on board to help in the selection of asuitable location of the new terminal,” Mr Kwame said.
The drivers, however, indicated that they would derive many benefits when the road projects were completed.
The benefits, they said, were reduction in travelling time, reduction in maintenance cost of their vehicles, increased passenger freight due to easy access and comfort in travelling on the road.
A road warden directing drivers at the construction site
The District Chief Executive for Bosomtwe, Mr Joseph Kwasi Asuming, was upbeat that the completion of the roads construction would enhance revenue mobilisation of the assembly.
He stated that apart from increased internally generated funds, the road construction could open the district to various investors and other people to do other forms of business in the district and beyond.
Mr Asuming called for restraint by people along the Lake Road, since the construction work might affect them in one way or the other and urged them to cooperate with the contractors so they could complete the work on time.
The Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe, Dr Osei Yaw Adutwum, said he was hopeful that the completion of the project would enhance the tourism development of the area.