The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Thursday cut the sod for work to begin on a 5.4-kilometre road from the Tema Steel Works Junction through the offices of the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Junction in Tema.
The project, being financed by the government of Ghana, is expected to be completed in 18 months.
The work will be undertaken by Messrs Joshob Construction Company and Lemef Construction Limited, both local companies.
A mini-durbar of the chiefs and people of the Tema Traditional Area and captains of industry was organised to herald the project.
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The Vice-President said the project was a pilot one that could be extended to some major roads in the country, since it was cheaper building a concrete road than an asphalt road.
According to him, the road was selected based on its functional use by heavy duty vehicles.
He said Tema had played a very important role in Ghana’s economy, as the metropolis was home to major industries, for which reason it was imperative that Tema was provided with durable roads that would link industries to the port and other parts of the country.
“There are heavy industries along the Tema Steel Works road. The road is at present in very poor condition and was serving as a disincentive to the industries situated along it.
“Consequently, it has become necessary for the government to address the poor nature of the road and ensure that roads in the industrial hub are in good condition. It is the expectation of the government that if the road is very well constructed and properly maintained, it should last a period of 40 years,” he said.
Dr Bawumia said the Accra-Tema Motorway, which is Ghana’s first major road constructed in concrete to purposely link the harbour city of Tema with Accra, had survived above its design lifespan of 40 years.
He said as part of the government transformational agenda, it was going to construct concrete roads across the country to address the poor road network and aso reduce the burden of constantly sourcing funds to maintain roads.
He urged the Ministry of Roads and Highways to sustain its policy direction to use concrete as a preferred pavement feature for heavy-axle roads.
He further asked it to undertake research with regard to the use of local materials such as cement, aggregates and sand in road construction, with the aim of reducing cost incurred in constructing concrete roads.
“It is imperative to train young and upcoming engineers and contractors in the use of concrete as a pavement option in order to sustain the policy direction of the government aimed at improving road infrastructure,” he said.
Dr Bawumia appealed to Ghanaians to desist from activities that tended to reduce the lifespan of roads.
He mentioned overloading of vehicles, washing of vehicles on roads, unauthorised cutting or trenching across roads, driving on the shoulders of roads and the construction of unauthorised speed humps as some of the negative practices.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, said although the initial cost of concrete roads was relatively high, it was more economical, compared to asphalt roads, over a period of not less than 40 years.
He said the advantages associated with concrete roads, such as durability, safety, low carbon monoxide emission, less fuel consumption, resistance to oil spillage from vehicles, among others, far outweighed those of asphaltic and surface dressed roads.
He tasked the contractors undertaking the project to work to schedule and deliver quality, since “the ministry will not tolerate shoddy work”.
“Ghanaians deserve value for money being spent,” he emphasised.
The Deputy Minister of Transport and NPP Member of Parliment for Tema East, Mr Daniel Nii Kwatei Titus-Glover, observed that when the work was completed, it would bring relief to commuters.
While expressing appreciation for the Steel Works-DVLA-TOR road project, he called for the fast-tracking of processes on the proposed construction of an alternative road from the Valco Roundabout to Tema Manhean to reduce travel time and assess to social services.