Accra, Nov. 22, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday officially opened the 23 million-euro Tema - Ashaiman Interchange for public use.
The ceremony, which was performed amidst pump and pageantry, also marked the formal handing over of the project to the Government by the contractors, Messr Sonitra.
The project sponsored by the French Government through Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), formed part of the Road Rehabilitation and Traffic Management Works in Tema and Sekondi-Takoradi designed by the Ministry of Road Transport.
The Tema component of the project, which commenced on April 7, 2003, comprised the construction of the Interchange at Ashaiman, reconstruction and upgrading of the main road to Tema Manhean and the improvement of a 3.2-kilometre access road for commuters from Ashaiman to Tema and Accra.
The French government provided 20 million euros and the government of Ghana counter funded with three million euros.
President Kufuor noted that the cost of the project was not inflated, saying: "The NPP Government did not take a 10 per cent kick-back as our detractors may want the public to think of us." He described the project as value for money and suggested that in the past it would have cost Ghana more than 40 million euros to undertake such a project but the NPP government with the support of the French Government managed to get it for 23 million euros.
"This is just one of the many benefits of my visits to France and this project shall forever remain a monument to Ghana-France relations," he said.
President Kufuor noted that until Tuesday, driving from Ashaiman to nearby Tema and vice-versa took more than one hour, adding that this project would drastically ease traffic congestion on the Ashaiman portion of the Motorway.
He said the Government had to take vigorous steps to end the over a decade of traffic congestion that faced residents of the area. Dr Richard Anane, Minister of Road Transport, said the Sekondi-Takoradi component of the project had also been substantially completed since last month, except for a 450-metre stretch of the road, which was awaiting the completion of coastal protection works.
He said the French Government through the AFD was also supporting other road projects in Ghana, including the Oforikrom - Asokwa By-pass with an interchange in Kumasi.
The other project is an 11 million-euros bridge project in the Northern Region, which would see the construction of a bridge over the White Volta to link Kpasimkpe and Kumpa communities and thus end the "overseas" tag given to the area.
Dr Anane said the Tema - Ashaiman Interchange was the first of three such interventions constituting the Accra East Corridor Road Improvement Plan, with the other two to be constructed at the Coca-Cola Factory and Trasaaco Valley ends of the Motorway.
Mr Pierre Jacquemot, French Ambassador in Ghana, announced that his government would continue to urban development projects in Ghana. 22 Nov. 05