Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has cut the sod for work to begin on the construction of a concrete road in Ghana, decades after such a major undertaking in the country.
Construction work on the 5.4 km stretch popularly called Tema Steel Works and DVLA road is expected to take 18 months and will be undertaken by two local firms.
Road construction experts say concrete roads last a minimum of 40 years, with just occasional rehabilitation works. Although it has an initially higher construction cost, it is much cheaper in the long run and is more environmentally friendly.
Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was the first to construct such a road, the Tema Motorway, to link the industrial city of Tema to Accra in 1965; the road is still in use today.
Speaking at the sod cutting ceremony, Dr Bawumia recalled his challenge to the Roads Ministry on June 19, 2017, to seriously consider the option of concrete roads to give a longer lifespan to the country’s roads.
He commended the Ministry for the tremendous effort it has put in place to ensure the take-off of the pilot project.
Vice President Bawumia explained the choice of this particular road for the pilot project: “Tema as the largest port in Ghana has played a very important role in Ghana’s economy.
"Tema is also home to major industries in the country and it is important to provide durable roads to link the industries to the port as well as other parts of the country.
He added that “there are heavy industries along the Tema Steelworks road. The current nature of the road is very poor and a disincentive to the industries along the road. To this end, government has initiated the construction of Tema Steel Works and DVLA Roads.
"The choice of the Steel Works and DVLA Roads in Tema are based on the functional use of the roads by heavily loaded vehicular trucks. We do believe that the road when constructed and properly maintained should last over 40 years.”
The Vice President challenged the Roads and Highways Ministry to undertake research in the use of local materials like Pozolana cement, aggregates and sand in road construction with the aim of reducing the cost of concrete roads. This, Dr Bawumia indicated, would also provide job opportunities for the country’s contractors and engineers.
“I want to urge the Ministry of Roads and Highways to sustain this policy direction in using concrete as the preferred pavement type on heavy axle roads like those in the industrial areas of our country.
“The need to train young and upcoming Engineers and Contractors in the use of concrete as a pavement option is also critical at this point so as to sustain the policy direction of government to improve road infrastructure.”
Roads and Highways Minister, Akwasi Amoako-Attah, charged the contractors to deliver a top-notch job and serve as an example to their colleagues in the construction sector.