Business News of 2014-08-29

3 Firms bid for motorway expansion

Three companies have submitted proposals to Ghana Highways Authority to finance the reconstruction of the Accra-Tema Motorway from a two-lane dual carriage to three-lane dual carriage on Public-Private-Partnership to contain the growing traffic on the road.

Alhaji Baba Kasim, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) In Charge of Maintenance, who disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times, said the government was in the process of engaging the services of a Transaction Adviser with the support of the World Bank, to advice on the project.

He said as part of the reconstruction of the motorway, the tollbooth would be replaced with an efficient electronic toll collection device, involving the use of prepaid tickets by motorist to reduce revenue leakages associated with the current system and also eliminate the buildup of traffic at the tollbooth.

“How to efficiently improve toll collection at the tollbooth will form part of the discussion when the TA is engaged to advice on the project,”Alhaji Kasim said, expressing the need for efficient toll collection to maximize revenue generation to pay for the project.

He added that the discussion with the TA would consider whether to maintain the original concrete surfacing or to replace it with asphalt, depending on the funding arrangement available.

Alhaji Kasim said the project was to have been rewarded last year, but there were challenges necessitating the assistance of the World Bank, who is providing funding for the services of the TA to advice on the project.

When asked about specific timelines, Alhaji could not state categorically when the project will take off, explaining that dealing with the World Bank entailed detail processes and procedures, “which cannot not be fast track.”

Explaining further, Alhaji Kasim said the proposed new electronic device which is akin to some major roads in South Africa, involved an electronic canopy device that is situated at a strategic place on the road which has sensors that give access to motorist with prepaid tickets.

He said the device has no cross bar like the current ones and required no booth with a ticket seller, and once the motorist has the prepaid ticket, the sensors installed in the canopy would automatically deduct the toll from the prepaid.

Alhaji added that motorist would be required to recharge their prepaid tickets from vantage points once their tickets are exhausted and wish to travel on the road again.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the GHA in Charge of Maintenance said when successful, it would be replicated on all tolled roads in the country.

He said the idea was to plug loopholes in the current system of toll collection to maximize revenue collection for repayment of the funding and maintenance of roads.

The 19 kilometer two-lane Accra-Tema Motorway was opened to traffic in 1965, linking the city of Accra with the Kotoka International Airport and the Tema Harbour, to promote efficient transportation system for accelerated economic growth.

It was a major road project initiated by the Convention People’s Party led by the First President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, christened the National Route (NI), starting from Aflao in the Volta Region and ending at Elubo in the Western Region.

The road which forms part of the Trans-West African Highway (Abidjan-Lagos Corridor) has not seen major rehabilitation since it was constructed nearly five decades.

The condition of the road is generally fair but with some deplorable sections which have been periodically maintained to ensure smooth travelling.

Source: Ghanaian Times
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