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Regional News of Monday, 11 February 2008

Source: Seth Arko KRAMPAH

Sofoline Foodstuff Sellers Stranded

? As interchange project takes off

Foodstuff sellers at the Sofoline Mini Market in Kumasi have been asked to vacate where they do business to make way for the progress of Sofoline Interchange project. This has made almost all of them stranded since no place has as yet been earmarked for their resettlement.

?Now we don?t know what to do, we are only waiting for our wares in stock to be sold out after which we will decide where to relocate and continue our business?. This is what the ?Bode Hemaa? the queen mother of the Sofoline Plantain Sellers Association; Nana Ama Adoma told B&FT when this reporter visited Sofoline Mini Market to observe the scene of ejection.

She said the situation was very worrying since most them might be compelled to quit the plantain retailing business entirely because there would not be any available alternative resettlement. The ?queen mother? lamented very bitterly on the unpleasant situation because where they were, was very close to the roadside and business was booming.

The Sofoline Mini Market is noted for a major retailing in foodstuff such as plantain, cassava, cocoyam and yam. The rest are all types of vegetables ranging from tomatoes, pepper, garden eggs to okra and all fruit types. Public Officers who spend weekend outside the Kumasi Metropolis after their weekdays? official duties are their major customers and they buy these foodstuffs in very large quantities.

According to the Kumasi Metropolitan Roads Engineer Mr J.O. Amo-Gotfried the KMA entered into serious dialogue with the market women some five months prior to the commencement of the project and he was sure they had even been served official notice to vacate the place.

The Metro Engineer said structures like the Shell & Goil Filling Stations would be demolished but the land valuation had been tasked to value the two filling stations for the owners to be duly compensated. Meanwhile the police station would be relocated but they could continue with their duties for sometime as the project progresses.

The Sunyani Road is one of the major Arterials in Kumasi which starts from the Komfo Anokye Hospital Roundabout and links Kumasi through the national network to Sunyani. The section of interest in this proposal is the urban section from Komfo Anokye Hospital to Aduakwa, a total of 10.3km.

Currently the road is a two-lane single carriageway and carries an average of 24,000 vehicles a day, with capacity severely restricted on the road which results in severe congestion. Average travel speed is less than 10km/hr on the most congested sections. The project involves widening of the road to a dual carriage with provision for Bus Transit facilities. An interchange will be constructed at the intersection with the Ring Road at Sofoline Roundabout.

The project is being funded by the Government of Ghana and it is estimated to cost about $80m. The contractors and consultants for the projects are M\S China-Geo Construction and ABP Consults respectively; the project is expected to be completed in May 2010.

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