President John Agyekum Kufuor has performed a ceremony for reconstruction works to start on some selected roads in the Accra Central Business District (CBD).
The project, which would cost 127 billion cedis and scheduled for completion within 16 months, covers six kilometres of roads and forms part of the government's phased modernization agenda for the capital city.
The government is providing the funding and a Chinese company, Messrs China Railway Wuju Group is undertaking the job.
The scope of work involves the reconstruction and upgrading of the High Street into a dual carriageway from the Independence Arch to the former Multi Stores, improvement of the stretch from the former Multi Stores to Ring Road West near Korle Lagoon with walkways and improved drainage, and the reconstruction of the Barnes Road into a dual carriageway.
Additionally, the Korle Lagoon Bridge would be reconstructed with four lanes and 1.7 kilometres of pavements on the Okaishie roads upgraded with concrete blocks.
President Kufuor said the government was implementing the project because of its immense economic and historic importance, saying the major roads link not just the city centre, but such important national monuments as the Independence Arch, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Old Parliament House, the Supreme Court, Bank of Ghana and the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The other important landmarks connected by these roads include pre-independence edifices like the Ussher Fort, James Fort, the Brazilian House, Old Ga Mantse Palace, the Sea View Hotel, one of the first hotels in the country, the Arts Centre and the Central Post Office.
President Kufuor said given the critical importance of the CBD to the national economy and the management of the national capital, it was surprising that it had been lagging in development with the requisite level of social services and infrastructure.
He noted that the phenomenal growth in size and population of Accra over the past four decades, and increased vehicle ownership had resulted in a chaotic human and vehicular traffic in the city's nerve centre and said apart from redressing the imbalance, the project would also endow the nucleus of the national capital with a befitting image.
President Kufuor said as part of the overall modernization of Accra, the CBD must mesh naturally with outlying sections of the city, adding that, this vision was being implemented in phases with the roads project forming the phase one.
Ongoing road works within the city are the Kwame Nkrumah Circle-Achimota-Ofankor road; the Tetteh-Quarshie-Madina-Pantang road and the Mallam-Tetteh-Quarshie dual carriageway.
He said other projects lined up for implementation were an interchange at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle; the Accra East corridor to link the Motorway to Teshie and Accra, the Tema-Accra Road project and a third Ring Road around Accra from Awoshie through Pokuase to Ashiaman.
There are also programmes to develop the sea front including the harbour site into a modern fishing harbour and the construction of modern hotels along the beach from the Arts Centre to the Independence Square.
Mr. Magnus Opare-Asamoah, Deputy Minister of Road Transport, said the completion of the project would lead to appreciable improvement in socio-economic activities in the area.
This would be in keeping with the government's vision of having an affordable, safe and efficient transport system that supports overall development and competitiveness of the urban environment.
Sheikh I. C. Quaye, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, said he was happy that after years of what he described as "underserved neglect", the area was now going to enjoy a huge stroke of development.