A document providing guidelines for the construction of feeder roads using a labour-based bituminous surfacing technology (LBST) has been launched by the Ministry of Roads and Highways in Accra.
The technology uses a large proportion of labour and light equipment such as chip spreaders for the construction of roads.
The guidelines provide instructions on the design, construction, maintenance, health and safety aspects of the technology, which is being rolled out by the Department of Feeder Roads, in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
A trial construction to assess the feasibility of the technology is ongoing on the Akote-Obomofodensua-Asiedu feeder road near Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
Launching the manual for the LBST in Accra yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Anthony Abayifa Karbo, explained that the initiative formed part of efforts by the government to enhance road infrastructure in the country, particularly in the rural areas.
He explained further that the focus on labour was not only cost effective but also an avenue for the employment of local people, who would also be involved in the process.
He gave an assurance that once the manual was evaluated and approved by the various stakeholders, the ministry would implement it to benefit other rural areas.
“The ministry stands by its vision to provide and maintain an integrated, cost-effective, safe and sustainable road transport network responsive to the needs of users, supporting growth and poverty reduction. Hence we will not remiss to let this manual go waste on our shelves,” he promised.
For his part, the Director of the Department of Feeder Roads, Mr Bernard Badu, expressed the hope that renewed interest in the use of labour in the construction of roads in the country would be sustained.
He pledged the commitment of the Department of Feeder Roads to collaborate with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Local Government Service and other institutions to sustain the technology.
The Senior Representative of JICA, Ghana Office, Ms Ozawa Maki, in an interaction with the Daily Graphic, revealed that her outfit had committed not less than $3 million to the development of the LBST in Ghana.
She said having a network of accessible roads in the rural areas was key to alleviating poverty among the people in those areas, hence the decision of JICA to commit resources towards that course.
She further pledged the commitment of JICA towards other developmental initiatives targeted at improving the quality of life of the people.
Last Monday, officials of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, JICA and the Department of Feeder Roads visited the Akote-Obomofodensua-Asiedu feeder road project site near Koforidua to inspect progress of work.
The Principal Engineer at the Department of Feeder Roads and Coordinator for the project, Mr Kwabena Omane-Brimpong, who led the officials on the tour of the project, explained the various stages of the project to them.
The team commended the workers at the site for a good work done on the project, which is about 80 per cent complete.
The project is expected to be completed in February next year.