The Ministry of Roads and Highways has taken over the Achimota-Ofankor road in Accra following its substantial completion this month.
The 5.7-kilometre road which was expected to be completed in three years dragged into six years due to challenges largely related to financing and changes in the initial road designs.
The project started in November, 2006 and was to have been completed in November, 2009.
The usual gridlock, exhaust fumes and dust experienced by motorists on the stretch was absent during an inspection tour by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Joe Gidisu, yesterday.
The inspection tour was to enable the minister to attest to the completion of the project prior to its take-over from Messrs China Railway Wuju (Group) Corporation, the Chinese company that executed the project.
The GH¢137,234,148.62 Achimota-Ofankor road is by far the biggest project to have been undertaken solely by the government and forms part of the road sector development project.
According to Mr Gidisu, it was sheer determination that made the completion of the project possible, adding that at the time the present administration inherited it from the previous administration in 2009 it was only 25 per cent complete.
Even at that stage, payment for some works done was outstanding, he stated.
He expressed the government’s commitment to complete what he described as the ‘gang of six’, that is the Tetteh-Quarshie-Madina road, Sofoline, Dansoman highway, Teshie-Nungua Beach road, the Spintex Road and the just completed Achimota-Ofankor road.
Five persons have already been killed in two months when the road was partially opened to traffic. The five were knocked down by speeding vehicles when they attempted to scale the retaining walls to enable them to cross from one side of the road to the other. All five accidents occurred under the Dome footbridge.
The four footbridges on the corridor are located at an average of a distance of 1.2 kilometres apart but Mr Gidisu appealed to motorists and pedestrians to use the road as designed to maximise safety on it.
The Resident Engineer of the project, Mr Shelter Lotsu, described the road as user friendly with facilities also provided for physically challenged persons.
He said there were few outstanding works which would be carried out by the contractor during a one-year defect liability period. The immediate ones, however, include the provision of bridge parapets, a kind of guard rail made up of strong materials which would be installed at the Tantra Hill overpass and other critical sections of the road.
He advised motorists to approach the Tantra Hill overpass with caution until the parapets were fixed.
Angel Data and Telecom Services is also working on the installation of traffic signals at the Neoplan intersection. Meanwhile beautification which includes paving and grassing is also ongoing.
The reconstruction of the Achimota-Ofankor road project from a two-lane single carriageway to a three-lane dual carriageway became necessary to reduce the drudgery associated with travelling on that stretch of the road.
According to Mr Lotsu, motorists can now make the four-hour journey from the Neoplan intersection to Ofankor in just about 10 minutes as all forms of traffic have been eliminated.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Afotey Agbo, who was part of the inspection team, noted that the road would only be beneficial if it was used as designed and cautioned motorists and pedestrians against its abuse.
The Achimota-Ofankor road forms part of the urban section of the dualisation of the Accra-Kumasi road. It has a three-lane dual carriageway and two-lane service roads with asphalt concrete surfacing, three interchanges and four footbridges, bicycle lanes, pedestrian walkways, and laybys along the service roads.