Residents in the Volta and Oti regions have been asked to be rest assured that the ongoing works on the Eastern Corridor road, is not a nine-day wonder, but genuine commitment to completing the most talked about road in the country.
The Eastern corridor road, which is considered one of the most important roads in the country that connects Northern Ghana and other landlocked countries north of Ghana to Southern Ghana has been a tool for propaganda.
For over a decade, the road has always been in the budget and plans of government, but little has been achieved in completing it.
The situation is heightened in elections years, when contractors are seen busily working.
Yet, immediately after the elections, the contractors disappear and the road becomes worse than it used to be.
However, speaking to the press in Jasikan, the Roads and Highways Minister, Amoako Atta stressed that ongoing works on the infamous Eastern Corridor is not a gimmick to buy votes, but a clear commitment to completing the roads once and for all.
Eastern Corridor Details
He announced that seven contractors have been put on the Eastern Corridor road from Asikuma to Damanko.
Asikuma to Have and Have to Hohoe have been given to GS International who are mobilizing to get on sight. 31km Hohoe-Jaskian has seriously ongoing with RR Rolider as the contractor. A tour of the road shows that Santrokofi to Jasikan has seen bitumen surfacing while Hohoe to Santrokofi has seen leveling awaiting bitumen surfacing, except that the portion has become very dusty.
Jasikan to Dodo Pepesu which is under the Sinohydro project has also seen work beginning. The €25.9 million European Union (EU) funded Dodo Pepesu to Nkwanta road constructed by Messrs Enterprise Oumarou Kanazoe Freres under the erstwhile NDC government is to be awarded this year for porthole patching and resealing of the entire stretch. The road which is barely five years old has developed a lot of portholes, some of which could be described as gullies.
50km Nkwanta to Sibi is being handled by China Jiangxi International Corporation while 12 km Sibi to Damanko is being handled by First Sky, an indigenous company.
Mr. Amoako Attah noted that these contractors immediately they start work are not to vacate the road till it is completed. He therefore urged the media and residents to draw his Ministrys attention immediately they do not see the contractor on the road.
Status of Roads
In a detailed explanation he noted that the NPP government inherited a country whose total road network of 78,000 had only 23 percent paved (bitumen surfaced) with only 39 percent of the total network classified as good as per road quality standards. Apart from that almost all roads, including the Eastern corridor road that were ongoing or abandoned had little or no funds allotted to it.
Despite the debt of the road sector, the government took time to access the roads, repackage, modify, engage the contractors and pay some of the debts, so the contractors can return to sight.
He said per the brilliant advice of the President, the Ministry in collaboration with contractors have devised a new model, where contractors working on critical roads like the Eastern Corridor are paid a fixed amount to take care of recurrent expenditure while they await their bulk payments.
This latest strategy among others is what has given impetus to the Year of Road Program which is ensure that all 16 regions and 260 Municipal and District Assemblies are having road, bridges and interchange projects ongoing simultaneously.