The President of Ghana, H. E Nana Addo, has officially commissioned the historic four-tier Pokuase interchange, which is the second on the continent and first in the West African sub-regional, since it became fully completed and ready for use, some few weeks back.
At a press conference on Sunday, May 23, the sector Minister had indeed indicated that the project had reached a substantial stage of completion and was expected to be opened to traffic in the next few weeks.
This project, which is seen as one clear statement of the developmental vision of the Akufo-Addo government, is meant to ease traffic congestion, improve urban mobility by investing in roads since the sector constitutes the veins of the economy.
“The project [Pokuase Interchange] was started right from the scratch under President Akufo-Addo’s government. This is an interchange that is the first of its kind in West Africa and the second to the Eb Cloete of South Africa. This interchange will be opened in full to traffic, currently, we have started opening some sections to traffic, but it will be opened in full by the first week of July when it’s scheduled to be commissioned,” the road minister had stated.
At todays commissioning, the Chief Imam, was among the high leveled personalities, who graced the short event and showered praises on him, asking for Allah's blessings on the President's journey of truly transforming the nation, through monumental projects such as this.
The President, speaking minutes before the official opening, asserted that, the NPP and his government, are indeed, better managers of Ghana's resources, as he reiterated the fact that, the "original cost of the project was giving Ghana just three (3) tier interchange, but his government renegotiated it into four, under same cost. He also compared the cost of interchanges under John Mahama, with that of his cost, to advance his assertion.
Nana Addo also promised that, construction is fast going around around the country, and in few months to come, Ghana will see at least 20 more of such huge interchanges, as he seeks to totally transform our transport sector, citing the on-going first ever interchanges in both Tamale and the Western Region, as examples.
The Pokuase interchange at the ACP Junction in the Ga West Municipality, is an $84-million project which was initially three-tier and upgraded to a four-tier facility and it is being jointly financed by the African Development Bank and the Government of Ghana.
Whereas social media is awash with commentary from both the NDC, as NDC takes credit for the project as according to them, the project was contracted in 2014 during Mahama's tenure.
Osafo Marfo, who is a now a presidential advisor, was emphatic that, the President must be commended for showing leadership and renegotiating the deal, to the benefit of Ghana. According to him, this first ever project of a four-tier interchange in Ghana, affirms that the NPP are indeed development oriented.
Fast forward, the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) has advised pedestrians and motorists using the newly constructed Pokuase Interchange in the Ga West Municipality to strictly adhere to all directional signage provided to ensure the safety of all.
The Pokuase Footbridge has been opened for public use. But, like the skepticism which comes with most lifestyle changes, some pedestrians are refusing to use the life-saving infrastructure.
“I have a waist problem, and climbing this long bridge will affect me,” – one pedestrian said. Another was unsure how safe the bridge was, considering workers were still on site.
Though Maximus was excited about the project, especially because he uses the road every day, he had a concern – “it is going to be safe for us now, but I’m wondering how are they going to stop people from crossing the street at night?” The bus stop for commercial vehicles has been moved to another spot on the stretch. This has also brought some discomfort to both customers and drivers as they keep moving towards the old spot.
Officers from the Ghana police service’s motor traffic and transport department have to keep reminding them to use the new spot. That was not all. The officers have to keep turning back the pedestrians who refuse to climb the footbridge.
One of the officers, Livity Bibkuu, said, “it’s like I have to keep reminding them of why they do not have to risk their lives by crossing the busy street instead of using the bride.”
Levity and her other colleagues will be stationed at the foot of the bride, doing this work for a while, at least until the pedestrians accept to stop putting their lives in danger. That’s how the Head of Education, Research and Training at the MTTD, Superintendent Alexander Obeng wants it.
This is important, as already, two road accidents have been recorded since the interchange was fully opened to traffic on Sunday. One person was said to have been knocked down by a vehicle while crossing from one end of the interchange to the other on Tuesday, while two private vehicles with registration numbers; GX 268-17 and GE 2898-29 were involved in a head-on collision on one of the sections on Wednesday.
Briefing the media on measures put in place to ensure safety of the public, Mr David Osafo Adonteng, Director, Planning and Programmes at NSRA said motorists and pedestrians using the interchange must ensure full compliance to all road signage on the interchange to curb such incidents and protect lives.
“We were told that a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle on one of the sections yesterday. Some of our people are a bit recalcitrant, indiscipline and you know the problem we all have. Even whilst we were there, they were still forcing to jump over some of the median, the fences and the walls although the police are around and putting fear in them,” he had said.
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