The Minister of Roads and Highways, Amoako Attah, was on Wednesday night forced to cancel the commissioning of the South-bound Suhum overpass on the main Accra-Kumasi Highway, after keeping journalists and others waiting for hours.
This comes after some residents raised concerns over their safety, especially that of their children who cross the road on daily basis to and from school.
The residents after receiving information of the planned commissioning on Wednesday night, expressed their disappointment and frustration that safety measures have not been adequately put in place.
No speed ramps, no street lights
There were no speed ramps, no streetlights, no reflectors and no pedestrian footbridge at the intercession to guarantee the safety of the residents in the area who cross to either side of the road daily.
The contract, which was fully funded by the Government of Ghana, was first awarded to a Chinese Construction company, CWE- China International Water and Electricity in 2008 for GHC 150 million, to be completed in 3 years. But after 10 years, the project is only 70 per cent complete.
The contract sum is expected to rise due to the delay.
The Minister, upon arrival, said he was happy with the extent of work done so far by the contractor and commended the efforts of the engineers, however, after consultation with his Deputy Minister, the Director of Highways, the Suhum Municipal Chief Executive and Police Commander, the Minister cancelled the commissioning, stating that other necessary safety measures must be put in place to protect human lives before the road can be duly open to commuters.
“We have assessed the road critically and we have come to the conclusion that we need to put in place other things to ensure total and maximum safety. We do not want to rush and commission it once our attention has been drawn to some lapses, we do not want to experience any fatalities and accident after commissioning it,” Mr. Amoako Attah said.
He assured residents that the necessary safety measures will be put in place ensure their maximum safety will be instituted before two weeks after which it will be commissioned.
“I have asked the engineers and contractors to put in place all the necessary safety measures to ensure maximum and optimum safety of residents.
From the technical point of view everything is set but there is no need to rush in commission it because up ahead there are schools there and we do not want to put the lives of the pupils who cross the road at risk and is for this reason we want to put in place all the necessary safety measures to avoid possible disasters,” he said.
Some residents who heard the news about the cancellation and postponement of the overpass commissioning expressed their excitement over the decision as they believe the opening of the overpass to traffic without the construction of foot bridges and speed ramps would increase incidents of road accidents in the Municipality.
Journalists’ long wait
Meanwhile, journalists and engineers were held for hours at the site of the expected commissioning as they had to wait for the Minister and his team to arrive.
Although some arrived around 5pm to report on the commissioning, they had to wait for the minister till about 9:30pm when he finally arrived to inspect the project.