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General News of Monday, 11 July 2016


Mahama cuts sod for reconstruction of Bolga-Bawku road

President John Dramani Mahama has cut sod for reconstruction work to begin on the Bolgatanga-Bawku Road.

Speaking Monday at Zebilla in the Bawku West District of the Upper East region, the President assured Ghanaians work on the 115-kilometre-long international road would not see any delay because "funds have been made available" for the project.

President Mahama is on a two-day visit to the region as part of his "Accounting to the People" tour of the country. His trip to the region, which began Monday, is the ninth leg of his nationwide tour.

"This road runs through seven districts and runs through a total of nine constituencies. And so, it's a very important road to many people. And that's why government is investing in completing this road.

"Let me assure you that the funding for the road is available and so any delay in the road work would not be due to funding. The funding is fully available and the work, I believe, once it starts would continue until it is completed," the President said amid applause from the crowd.

The road has, for decades, remained a nagging pain in the neck of the region with countless potholes widely described by agitated regular users as "potwells" and "dams" all over the stretch. It is an international road, linking Ghana to Togo and Burkina Faso.

The Member of Parliament for Zebilla and former Interior Minister, Cletus Apul Avoka, summed up the excitement of the region about the project when he addressed the crowd.

"Your Excellency, today marks an important day to the people of this region, particularly those in the Bawku Traditional Area, Nabdam and Bolgatanga who have suffered on this road. Bawku is a business and economic melting pot, a political nerve centre, a security centre and a rendezvous for the people of the Upper East. It is against this background it is important for work to begin on the road today to facilitate the movement of goods, services and people," the MP said.

Features of the new road

Queiroz Galvão, a Brazilian company contracted to upgrade the Tamale Airport in the Northern Region to an international status, has been awarded the contract and is expected to complete the project from Bolgatanga, the regional capital, to Pulmakom in the Pusiga District in 910 days.

"Road features are going to be provided. That means speed rumps are going to be provided anywhere there are communities along the road so that they would compel drivers to reduce their speed. Road signs and all the safety features are also going to be provided.

"And it is going to have three main bridges: one over the Kola River, the other over the Red Volta and another one over the White Volta. Aside from that, there is also going to be a bypass from Azoka Senior High School to the Pusiga Road,” President Mahama also disclosed.

Highway authorities told Starr News a 2-kilometre-long portion of the road, from the traffic lights at the Mobil Roundabout in the regional capital to a spot beyond the steel bridge that joins Bolgatanga with Zuarungu, would be a dual carriage way and that it would be asphalted. Streetlights would also be provided to shower marigold lights at night particularly along the forested areas of the renewed road.

Eminent monarchs stood by the President as he sat behind the steering wheel of a bulldozer to symbolically open tool boxes for work to begin on the road. Leading the traditional figures was the Paramount Ruler of the Kusaug Kingdom, otherwise referred to as the Bawku Traditional Area, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II, who is quoted to have more than just once said: “Anytime I receive a letter inviting me to Bolga for a programme, that night I don’t sleep because of this road.”

Public fears projects will stall after President’s tour
A lot of preparations are underway as the region as the President continues his tour of the region Tuesday.

At present, surfaces of old roads riddled with what observers say are best described as not potholes but “manholes” and “valleys”, are being removed in some communities to pave way for reconstruction at the visit of the President.

Heavy construction machines are busy 'roughshod' on the Soe-Yorogo Road towards the Bongo District, the Regional Library Road and the Tanzui Road among others. But some residents, unenthused at the development, have described the roads as “propaganda roads” and they have expressed fears those projects would come to a halt once the President ends his tour of the region.

“These are propaganda roads. Why are we seeing the roads in an election year? Some of the roads will end there the moment Mahama goes back to Accra. Some, too, the contractors will have to rush to complete them before the election. The quality will not be there,” Gideon Anafo told Starr News.

But in reply, the Upper East Regional Minister, Albert Abongo, told the public to expect thorough execution of those ongoing road projects.

“This, indeed, is an election year. But if you have 4 years to go, can you get everything started right at the beginning of the first year? No. There is a lot to do as a government. I believe there is nothing to complain about. I think that we should be happy that all these projects are happening. The contractors are known and they are determined to executive the work properly in reasonable time, if not even finished before the election time,” the Regional Minister told Starr News.

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