Work has resumed on the Sofoline Interchange project in Kumasi following the settlement of outstanding arrears of GH¢30 million to the contractor, China Geo Construction Limited. The government, which is funding the project, paid the contractor about two months ago.
Started by the Kufuor administration in 2007, the project was due for completion in 2010, but work stalled for years.
The project covers works such as the construction of interchanges at Sofoline and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, reconstruction of an 11-kilometre six-lane dual carriageway from the Komfo Anokye Roundabout to Abuakwa and five underpasses for pedestrians.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako Atta, accompanied by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, has inspected work on the project and assured the people of the government’s intention to complete the remaining works.
Speaking to journalists after the inspection, Mr Amoako-Atta said the government would not play politics with the construction of roads, stating that: "People on a daily basis go through inconveniences due to the neglect of the roads.
“The Nana Addo-led government has settled an outstanding arrears of GH¢30 million owed by the past NDC administration to the contractor on the Kumasi-Sofoline Interchange project. The New Patriotic Party government will not play politics with the construction of roads because people on a daily basis go through inconveniences due to the neglect of the roads."
According to him, the ministry was considering seeking a court injunction to halt the construction of stalls at the Apatrapa junction, which was impeding the continuation of the project.
He said the people did not care about which government or minister messed up on the construction of the roads, adding that, "All they care about is that the road is fixed.”
Mr Amoako Atta admitted that Kumasi, being a strategic and busy city in the country, should not suffer from traffic congestion.
"Until the outer ring roads in Kumasi are built, the traffic loads will never end. It's a hell to be in traffic from Tech to Abuakwa. As the GH¢30 million has been paid to contractors so far, we're prepared to listen to the advice of technocrats to complete the entire project in time," the minister added.
For his part, Mr Osei-Mensah stressed the need for periodic meetings with contractors to review the progress of road projects in the region.
He indicated that his meetings with contractors in the region had proven that they had done nothing wrong for them to lose their entire contracts.
He said the contractors were willing to return to site once they were paid.