President John Dramani Mahama on Monday inaugurated the estimated 74 million Euro three-tier Kwame Nkrumah interchange with the promise to complete and initiate similar projects in the capital.
He said apart from the Kasoa interchange that would also be completed by the end of December, his administration had advanced plans to commence work on another complex interchange at Pokuase in the Greater Accra Region.
The inauguration attracted hundreds of people who had thronged there to catch a glimpse of the project and its benefits to drivers, traders, travelers and pedestrians.
The project, which started on October 28, 2013, was funded by Brazil to help decongest the area of both human and vehicular traffic. The construction works became necessary when the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which handles more than 84,000 vehicles from the arterial roads and their intersections, became inundated with heavy vehicular congestion thereby retarding progress.
The project was not just the road component, but also included a Police Station, Fire Station, an Ambulance Station and well-furnished offices of the Ghana Road Transport Union. It also included the monument of the late and former President Kwame Nkrumah with a garden and a “dancing fountain” which is a smaller version of the one in Dubai.
“The garden…fountain will also serve as a tourist attraction to generate revenue for development,” President Mahama said. President Mahama said the interchange which would ease traffic congestion in the capital was the longest and highest in West Africa, emphasising that Nigeria had the longest bridge, while Ghana boasted of the highest and longest interchange.
He said apart from the Kasoa interchange that was almost completed and the proposed Pokuase interchange, government would also dualise the Accra-Kumasi, Accra-Cape Coast Takoradi and many other roads in the country. The President said while efforts were underway to complete the Eastern Corridor road to effectively link the southern part of the country to the northern sector, plans were afoot to commence work on the western corridor road to facilitate movement as well.
President Mahama commended former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor for their tremendous contributions towards the improvement in the capital. He said while the former President Rawlings was instrumental in the construction of the Ako Adjei interchange, former President Kufour also constructed the Tetteh Quarshie interchange, feats he said were worthy of mention for posterity.
President Mahama cautioned the Ministry of Roads and Highways to monitor the daily use of the interchange to ensure a long lifespan.
Nii Duodu Esaki III, Acting President of the Ga Traditional Council, appealed to the government to construct another interchange at the Obetsebi Lamptey roundabout to avoid the transfer of vehicular congestion from Nkrumah circle to that area.
He also called on the government to fully implement the local content law by sub-letting some of the projects in major contract programmes to local contractors that had the capacity to execute them.
In that way, he added, the money they made would be retained to develop the country and create jobs for the youth.
Barring any accidental damage, the interchange is supposed to be used for the next 20 years before any major maintenance