Construction works on a three-tier interchange at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra have begun. The Kwame Nkrumah Circle is a key intersection in the arterial road network in Accra, carries about 84,000 vehicles a day and constitutes a key bottleneck in the major road network that links the suburban areas of Accra to the central business district.
The project, funded with a loan from the Brazilian government and being executed by Queiroz Galvao, a Brazilian company, is estimated at 74 million euros.
When the Daily Graphic visited the site, the contractor had started drainage works with the laying of a 1.0m pipe from the Feo Oyo section of the road to be connected to the Odaw River.
He has mobilised, among others, excavators, trucks, compactors and concrete mixers for the works.
The Director of the Department of Urban Roads (DUR), Mr Abass Awolu, described that aspect of the project as a major component of the drainage work.
According to him, there would be minimal impact on some properties along the project site, including the fence wall of the VIP Transport Terminal, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), part of the Pedestrian Shopping Mall and the Neoplan Station.
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The footbridge at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle will be demolished during the works, as the road will be raised above ground level.
Some road projects sometimes drag for years and inconvenience many motorists but Mr Awolu gave an assurance that "once the funding is available for this project, we don't anticipate any undue delays".
That was corroborated by the contractor, Mr Marcos Alexandre Silva, who told the Daily Graphic that although the project was scheduled for completion in two years, " we plan to complete it in 20 months”.
The new design
The Ring Road, of which the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Roundabout is part, was constructed in the 1960s and its capacity, according to Mr Awolu, has been exceeded since the late 1990s.
The first level flyover of the new project will be between the Akasanoma Road, towards the Accra Newtown Junction on the Nsawam Road, as well as from the Newtown Junction on the Nsawam Road to the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue around PTC in the opposite direction.
The second level flyover is on the Ring Road between the Fanofa Bridge and Feo Oyo and connects the Ring Road Central to the Ring Road West.
The ground level has a roundabout at the existing circle.
The Ring Road flyover also lifts the Ring Road above the Odaw River and the rail line. This allows for pedestrian and public transport operations on the ground level.
It should improve pedestrian safety and reduce accident at in the area, Mr Awolu stated.
Traffic management is an essential part of road construction, and considering the fact that the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and adjourning roads are traffic-prone, the interchange is even more imperative.
According to Mr Awolu, local road networks, including the Otublohum and others connecting the Nsawam Road to the Pedestrian Mall, would be improved to be used as alternatives for the hundreds of motorists who moved in and out of the area daily.
He indicated that the company and its consultants, Fas Consult, which are supervising the works, would also create access roads as and when the project progressed to reduce the degree of inconvenience during the period.
The West Africa Managing Director of Queiroz Galvao, Mr Marcos Alexandre Silva, told the Daily Graphic that engineers, including safety specialists, were already in the country to help manage traffic during the works.
Queiroz Galvado, according to Mr Silva, would engage between 300 and 400 artisans, together with about five Brazilian engineers, on the project.
"We acknowledge that there will be challenges during the construction but we plead with road users to understand and co-operate with us," he said.
Queiroz Galvado has 60 years’ experience in the road construction sector and other businesses and is, therefore, confident of completing the works on time.
By Naa Lamiley Bentil/Daily Graphic/Ghana