Work begins on Kasoa-Winneba Road
Gyatoakrom (C/R), Dec 16, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday cut the sod at Gyatoakrom near Winneba for work to commence on the rehabilitation of the 41-kilometre Kasoa-Winneba Road in the Awutu-Efutu-Senya District of the Central Region.
The two-lane road project estimated at three billion Japanese yen, (23 million dollars) is being financed with a Japanese government grant. TAISEI Contractors Corporation of Japan, are undertaking the project expected to be completed within 18 months by March 31, 2005.
President Kufuor said realisation of the government's vision to raise the country to a middle-income status with per capita income of at least 1,000 dollars by 2010, depended on an efficient and modern infrastructural base with specific emphasis on roads and transport. He said these were the catalysts that drive every economy, hence government's focus on the rehabilitation, reconstruction, maintenance and development of trunk, feeder and urban roads in every part of the country within the past three years.
President Kufuor said the completion of the project would be on of the fulfilled visions of the government and Ghanaians.
He commended the government and people of Japan for their support in financing the project that also indicated a vote of confidence in the government's economic policies.
President Kufuor expressed appreciation to the Japanese Ambassador in Ghana, Mrs Kazuko Asai for her contribution in the provision of the grant and appealed to her to intensify her efforts in order that after the completion of the project, funds for an extension of the road works for the 57.2 kilometre road from Winneba-Yamoransa section would be ready.
Dr Richard Winfred Anane, Minister of Roads and Highways, said the Japanese government had in principle, agreed to fund the reconstruction of the 57.2 kilometre Winneba-Yamoransa section as soon as work on the Kasoa-Winneba section was completed.
He said about 10.5 billion dollars had so far been spent on road infrastructure in the country since independence up to 2002, but an inventory conducted this year, showed that the value of the country's road asset had depreciated to 5.5 billion dollars based on the current road condition.
The sector Minister gave the assurance that considering the huge investment made in the road sector, the Ministry and its agencies would ensure value for money and harmonise the road requirements with neighbouring countries to provide transit corridor for them and ensure longevity of the road.
Mrs Kazuko Asai, Japanese Ambassador in Ghana, appealed to stakeholders in the road sector to ensure effective maintenance of roads in the country through the strict enforcement of the rules and regulations with regard to the use of heavy trucks and axle load to prolong the life span of the roads.
She said efforts should be made for the maintenance of the roads adding, "without good maintenance the road is bound to deteriorate and would not be beneficial to the Japanese taxpayer".
Mrs Asai said rehabilitation of the road would become a symbol of a strong relationship between Ghana and Japan.
Neenyi Ghartey VII, Omanhene of the Efutu Traditional Area, said sound economy thrives on good infrastructure to facilitate growth and enhance the movement of goods and services.
He said the rehabilitation of the road was ideal because Winneba was strategically positioned to link the Central and Greater Accra Regions. Neenyi Ghartey said it would help reduce the numerous accidents on the road. Giving statistics, he said in 2002, 85 road accidents were recorded involving 134 vehicles through which 18 people died and 241 people received various degrees of injuries.
Neenyi Ghartey said so far this year, 110 road accidents had been recorded, involving 130 vehicles, with 17 lives lost and 276 wounded. He said the rehabilitation of the road would improve safety on the road to enable people to visit home regularly and assist in the development of their communities to open up the area for more tourists. The Efutu Omanhen appealed to the contractors to provide excellent work and ensure that the project was completed on schedule and gave the assurance that the chiefs and people would co-operate with them for an efficient and effective work