Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia cut the sod yesterday to kick-start the construction of roads with concrete in the enclave of Tema Heavy Industrial Area.
The Presidential Initiative is expected to improve the Steel Works, Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) roads.
The first pilot of the initiative is expected to be completed within 18 months.
The 5.4-kilometre project, which is solely funded by the Government of Ghana (GoG), will be constructed by Lement Construction Company Limited and Joshob Construction Company Limited – all local construction firms.
It would be recalled that the vice president announced at the commissioning of Tahilla Temple of Harvest Chapel International in Accra that the government would begin the construction of major roads with concrete since it is more economical than the asphaltic and bituminous ones.
The announcement followed approval by Cabinet to buy into the idea of constructing concrete roads in the country to save costs.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony in Tema, the vice president indicated that the project forms part of government’s transformational agenda to make the country better for every Ghanaian.
He said that constructing roads with concrete would save the country from spending more money, as compared to the asphalt and bitumen ones which demand constant repairs.
“Concrete roads have long lifespan of over 40 years and during their life do not require frequent maintenance. Vehicles consume less fuel: vehicles running over concrete roads consume less fuel because concrete roads do not deflect under wheels of loaded trucks. Resistant to fuel spillage and extreme/adverse weather, concrete roads do not get damaged by the leaking oil from vehicles or the extreme weather conditions like rain or heat. The rigidity of concrete pavements reduces the rolling resistance of heavy vehicles and in effect reduces the CO2 emissions from vehicles, thus less pollution,” Dr Bawumia explained.
He said that since Tema is a major economic backbone of the country with the largest port and home to major industries in the country, it is important to provide durable roads to link the industries to the port, as well as other parts of the country.
According to him, the project would be replicated in other parts of the country to improve the roads, reiterating the importance government attaches to roads in the industrial hub.
The vice president urged the Ministry of Roads and Highways to sustain the policy by using concrete as the preferred pavement type on heavy axle roads like those in the industrial areas of the country.
Dr Bawumia further directed the ministry to undertake research in the use of local materials like cement, aggregates and sand in road construction with the aim of reducing the cost of concrete roads.
He stressed the need to train young and upcoming engineers and contractors in the use of concrete in order to sustain the policy of the government to improve road infrastructure.
He commended all stakeholders for their efforts in making the proposed project a reality.
“I call on the general public, commuters and transporters who might experience inconvenience on the road during construction to observe the traffic management measures that the contractor shall put in place during the execution of the works,” he said.
The Minister of Roads and Highway, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, who gave a project brief, noted that the decision to choose the Steel Works and DVLA Roads in Tema was based on the functional use of the roads by heavy-duty trucks.
Mentioning some of the pavement structures, he said the contractor is expected to lay thick sub-base and base material, provide reinforced concrete grade of 30/20 in road slabs of 280mm thick and ancillaries.
He said his ministry is also constructing other road projects in the Greater Accra Region at Community 11 and 12, Tema Manhean, as well as undertaking asphaltic overlay of selected roads in Tema and Accra, construction of Pokuase interchange, motorway overpass to link Spintex and East Legon, upgrading of Spintex roads, among others.
Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema East, outlined the number of direct and indirect jobs the project will create for the teeming youth.
Ghana’s first major concrete road was constructed during the first Republic by Dr Kwame Nkrumah to link Tema and Accra.
The motorway has survived more than its design lifespan of 40 years.