Construction work on sections of the Eastern Corridor Road, spanning Have-Hohoe and Asikuma Junction-Kpeve in the Volta Region is progressing steadily.
The Eastern Corridor Road project will connect the national capital, Accra, to the northern part of the country. When completed, it will be the shortest route from the south to the north of the country. As a commercial north-south corridor, it is renowned for the transportation of especially agricultural farm produce, including maize, cassava, rice and yam, from the vast arable land in the regions the road passes through.
The road project upon completion will address the needs of an estimated 230,000 people and impact the lives of over 5.4 million inhabitants by reducing travel and transit time, supporting education and health services delivery and transforming agricultural potentials of the rural areas.
Also known as the Tema-Ouga-Bamako Trade Corridor, the Eastern Corridor Road is being developed as a strategic alternative route, which covers a distance of approximately 697 kilometres, stretching from Tema-Atimpoku-Asikuma-Hohoe-Nkwanta-Bimbila-Bawku-to- Kulungugu on the Ghana Burkina-Faso frontier.
The COCOBOD, which is funding work on the two sections, awarded the contracts to Greenhouse Construction International and Messrs First Sky Construction Company.
The First Sky Construction Company commenced civil works on its lot in September 2021, which is expected to be completed in 24 months.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First Sky Construction Company, Mr Oliver Acquah Takyi, disclosed this to the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, when he inspected the roads under construction as part of his tour to all the 18 municipal and district assemblies in the region.
When asked about the duration and progress of work, Mr Takyi said that work as of December 2021 was 80 per cent complete, and that crash rock base works were being undertaken at some sections of the roads.
He assured the minister that an asphalt plant was ready and by the second week of February 2022, the asphalt would be ready to be laid.
He added that First Sky Construction Company was also undertaking major projects, including the sea defence and pavement works within the Volta Region, which would be completed on schedule.
The Executive Chairman of the Company, Mr Eric Seddy Kutortse, said the section the company was working on would be completed on time, since the current nature of the section was posing a health threat to the people due to its dusty nature, coupled with the many potholes.
“We will complete this project within 24 months because the road is covered with dust coupled with many potholes, causing a number of accidents. This is the more reason why we as a construction company will speed up work to improve the health and safety of the people,” he added.
Dr Letsa urged the contractor to maintain and if possible, speed up progress of work and complete the project on schedule.
He indicated that plans were far advanced to ensure that the First Sky Construction Company added the six-kilometre section of the road between Kpeve-Have which had not been awarded to any contractor, to its contract and work on it.
“This is a very important project that I want completed. There is firm commitment to fix the entire stretch in no time because it will enhance inclusiveness of the community along the route, stimulate socio-economic development and facilitate domestic and regional integration,” the minister said.
Concrete works on the Have-Hohoe stretch of the road awarded to Greenhouse Construction International was 47 per cent complete as of December 2021 and stalled due to a delay in honouring Interim Payment Certificate (IPC).
“There was delay in payment in honouring interim certificate raised that is why we could not work at the pace we wanted. We have now been paid and we, therefore, appeal for an extension; and we want to reassure the regional minister that the entire work on the Have-Hohoe road will be completed and ready for use in August 2022,” the site engineer, Mr Chu Zhengang said.
The regional minister bemoaned the slow pace at which work was being carried out on that section of the road and charged the contractors, Greenhouse Construction International, “to deliver on value for money.”