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General News of Tuesday, 15 July 2003

Source: Chronicle

GHA Gives Contractor Ultimatum to Repair Road

The Ghana Highway Authority (G.H.A.) has ordered a contractor, Messrs. K.B. Annan Ltd, to go back to a stretch of road on the Tarkwa-Agona Junction Highway he constructed, to seal up potholes the said road has developed.

Failure on his part to comply with the directive will mean the forfeiture of monies owed him, the GHA has assured.

This was disclosed by the Western regional director of the GHA, Mr. Nai Kwade in a telephone interview with The Chronicle on Tuesday, in reaction to public outcry against shoddy work on the road evidenced by the gaping potholes on it.

He pointed out that the directive which, according to him, was communicated to the contractor K.B.Annan last week, was for him "to make the road as motorable as possible, to which he has agreed".

Kwade explained that some 7.5 kilometres of the about 60-kilometre Apimenim-Tarkwa Highway had "completely sailed" meaning that, "it was no more functioning".

The deplorable nature of the road therefore, necessitated the GHA to contract K.B.Annan to "carry out sectional re-surfacing", he said.

According to him, it was after the contract had been awarded with the contractor mobilizing to start work that it emerged that Taysec Construction had won the contract to reconstruct the major road from Agona Junction to Prestea.

He said in view of the new development, he had to consult the National Directorate of the GHA on the next line of action, since according to him, motorists could not interminably wait, pending the major road works.

Asked why the need for the repairs when there was going to be a major reconstruction, he replied that it was to alleviate the plight of motorists plying that route and also to suppress the dust that inhabitants along it endure.

Besides, the GHA director revealed, the contractor was tasked to construct only the sailed sections so as to save money.

Chronicle's enquiries were prompted by complaints and allegations of deception in and around Tarkwa, that recently, stretches of the road had developed potholes within days of tarring, without any effort to remedy the situation.

Of particular concern is the Akyempim-Efua Anta section of the same highway, whose potholes are competing with each other to swallow groaning cars.

Frustrated by the abandonment, some patriotic citizens, who in addition to paying their taxes for the provision of these services, have resorted to digging out the earth to fill the gaping wounds of the new "coal tarred" road, fulfilling Reggae super-star Lucky Dube's lyrics in Taxman.

Kwade, who could not immediately provide the contract sum, disclosed that he directed K.B.Annan to return and patch the potholes, after Taysec Construction had told him to keep existing equipment working on the road.

Indications are that the contractor has been paid for the shoddy work done hence his evacuation of his equipment from the aforementioned areas.

This was alluded to by Kwade when he disclosed that K.B.Annan has another contract somewhere else in the Western region, which should he fail to comply, will be deducted from that contract sum.

Chronicle is closely monitoring to see whether the directive will be complied with and will keep readers informed.