For the umpteenth time the completion date for the Asafo interchange which is under construction in Kumasi has been postponed.
Officials of the Ashanti Regional Department of Urban Roads now say the project, which begun in 2002, will now be completed by July, 31 2006. There is however a caveat: this is only possible if there are no adverse climatic conditions between now and the projected completion date.
The Statesman has learnt that with less than three months to the proposed completion date, the project is only 57.3 percent complete. This is because the contractor working on the Interchange, started long before the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange in Accra, SARROCH GELFI is not resourcing the project even though a substantial part of the contract sum has been paid to him, leading to frequent material shortages.
Again, internal crisis among the workers and the management staff, especially the expatriate staff, resulting in a series of strikes and demonstrations, is also a contributory factor for the delay of the project which was originally scheduled for completion on July 20, 2005.
The contractor, SARROCH GELFI, The Statesman learnt is insisting on getting paid at once for the many design variations that have been done on the interchange; the project consultants are currently assessing the costs to be paid the contractor.
Last week the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, visited the project site and expressed his dissatisfaction with the slow pace of work, and charged the contractors to be serious and speed up work to ensure it was completed on time. After the Vice President's visit, The Statesman learnt, the Ashanti Regional Director of the Department of Urban Roads held a crisis meeting with the contractor and consultants and wrung assurance from them that the project would be completed on schedule to ease traffic in the busy Kumasi suburb.
James Amo Gottfried told a radio station in Kumasi that as a temporary measure, Traffic Wardens of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly have been posted to parts of the city to control traffic.
Motorists in the metropolis have been fuming at the long delay in the completion of the Asafo Interchange, which forces them to make tortuous detours to get to the centre of Kumasi.