Bolga-Bawku-Pulmakom Road: Reconstruction faced with compensation challenge— Gov’t

The Roads and Highways Minister (in a cap and a blue shirt) on an inspection tour of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom Road on Friday

Government has identified demand for compensation by persons bound to be displaced as a result of the ongoing reconstruction of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom Road as a challenge facing the execution of the project.

Awarded by the erstwhile Mahama Administration and commenced on Monday July 11, 2016, the refurbishment project on the international road originally was scheduled to be completed on Monday January 7, 2019. But nonpayment of some arrears the government owed the contractor, Queiroz Galvão, saw the job, which was expected to have been finished within 910 days or 30 months, suspended for nearly 24 months between 2017 and 2019.

As public protests grew tremendously with ‘fists of fury’ in the air everywhere over the worsening condition of the busy highway, the government beckoned the Brazilian contractor to a roundtable late in 2019. Subsequently, Queiroz Galvão returned to the road, rejoining its Ghanaian counterpart, Mawums Limited, which was allotted a separate, smaller portion of the stretch to restructure. No fewer than 400 buildings are said to have been marked out for demolition to make way for the intended refashioning of the 116-kilometre-long ECOWAS highway.

Addressing journalists on Friday after an inspection tour of some road and bridge construction projects in the Upper East Region, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako Atta, said the Akufo-Addo Government was determined to finish the project by the end of 2020 despite the compensation-related challenge.

“The Bolga-Bawku-Pulmakom Road is a very long stretch of road which is in the heart of every individual, every person in this region and, indeed, government. Government is so particular about this road. President Akufo-Addo’s government is determined to fix this road by the end of 2020. I am very confident that the road will be finished by the end of the year. The contractor is facing few challenges going through Bolga Township because of obvious payment of compensation for certain structures that would be affected.

“In fact, we are going to work on that and those who need to be compensated will be compensated to pave the right of way for the contractor to continue to do his work uninterrupted. Between Bolga Township and leaving the outskirts of Bolga, we have some challenges there. I have directed the Director of Urban Roads to do pothole patching around that area within the next one month and to put asphalt overlay on it. I want to assure the people of this region that within the first term of the President, the Bolga-Bawku-Pulmakom Road, which has had a checkered history, will be delivered,” said the minister.

Regional Minister wants ‘archaic’ traffic lights replaced

A press conference held in the regional capital, Bolgatanga, preceded the one-day inspection tour undertaken by the Minister for Roads and Highways to Bawku, Binduri, Bongo, Garu, Kulungungu, Zebilla and Zuarungu.

Whilst welcoming participants to the confab, the Upper East Regional Minister, Tangoba Abayage, reiterated a general concern about the disintegrated, old-fashioned traffic lights standing ‘dead’ in the regional capital.

“When we had a meeting at the International Conference Centre a couple of months back, I requested of you a few things. One was the upgrading of our urban roads. We have only three urban centres— Bolga, Bawku and Navrongo. So, it’s easy for you to deal with it for us. I also made a passionate request for our traffic lights. Bolgatanga is a regional capital.

“I’m sure that as we are going, you’ll see the miserable [outmoded] traffic lights that are in town. First of all, they are dysfunctional. Almost every now and then, they are dysfunctional. Secondly, they don’t beautify the region. I have travelled across the country and I know that we have modern-type traffic lights. We are requesting that, at least, we have about two or three in the capital and also we should have traffic lights in the other urban centres— Navrongo and Bawku,” demanded the Regional Minister.

She also underscored the need for the Ministry of Roads and Highways to pay attention to improving the region’s feeder roads so that more deprived communities could be interlinked for development.

“Sometime back, I had a chat with you on our speed [ramps] between Pwalugu and Paga. I would like to also appreciate you for making steps to work on those that were mostly deathtraps between Doba and Navrongo. They have been worked on. There are other roads that need speed [ramps] especially between Navrongo and Paga— around the Saboro area— and, then, also between Pwalugu and Bolga, and Bolga-Bongo Road,” the Regional Minister added.

In response to the Regional Minister’s demand-laden address, the Minister for Roads and Highways announced that the government had plans to install 10 new traffic lights in the region— 5 in Bolgatanga, 3 in Bawku and 2 in Navrongo. He also promised that roads without speed-curbing facilities in the region would be accorded a priority attention. 

By Edward Adeti, Journalist, Upper East region – Daily Mail GH

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