No fewer than 400 structures in the Upper East region have been marked for demolition amid the ongoing reconstruction of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakon Road, engineers have announced.
The imminent destruction, notwithstanding a compensation package that may accompany it, would leave a sour taste in a thousand mouths when the same bulldozers that sparked widespread celebrations at the arrival of construction machines on the much-lamented road in 2016 now begin to pull down houses, stores and office blocks along the way.
The engineers revealed this to Starr News when the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Ayine Bukari, took an unannounced inspection tour of some major roads under construction in the region Monday.
“Bolga alone, more 100 structures will be affected. Bazua, a minimum of 20 and maximum of 50 buildings will [go down]. Bawku, more than 300. We are talking of a total between 350 and 450 structures. It is not only the buildings. Temporary structures, residential buildings, commercial structures, electric poles, waterlines – all of them will be affected. We are working within about 22 metres of road width that include walkway, drains and space for construction equipment to turn around,” Ing. Francis Hammond, the Chief Resident Engineer for the project, said.
Touching on compensation package for the would-be project-affected persons, Ing. Hammond said: “That is usually by the government’s rules. Generally, your place must be valued and you must have the requisite permit. There are other factors that may come on board even if you don’t have a permit.”
Queiroz Galvão, a Brazilian company contracted to upgrade the Tamale Airport to an international standard and tasked to reconstruct the Kwame Nkrumah Circle into what is now known as the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, was awarded the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakon Road project in 2016 at the contract sum of Gh¢612 million.
Minister recommends termination of Mawums contract
The Brazilian construction company began work on the road in July last year and stated it would complete the project within 910 days (30 months).
On a road that is 116 kilometres long, work done so far has covered 9 kilometres- with the first coat of bitumen stretching from the White Volta beyond Binduri.
Another construction company, Mawums, had been contracted to reconstruct 13 kilometres of the same road by the same Mahama Administration that later awarded the rest of the stretch to Queiroz Galvão.
The Upper East Regional Minister expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far by Queiroz Galvão, extending rare handshakes to the engineers at intervals as he moved around with an entourage of officials from the Regional Coordinating Council. But, delivering frank remarks about the work done thus far by the Mawums Construction Limited, the Regional Minister made strong recommendations for an immediate termination of the contract. The contractor, who was not spotted on site during the inspection tour, is said to have only laid a crashed-rock base on one half of the dual-carriage on the 13-kilometre-long portion awarded the firm.
“This is the time for us to ensure that the contract is terminated and added to this main contractor (Queiroz Galvão) to complete the work properly. I’m appealing to the Minister of Road to [have] this contracted terminated and added to the main contractor. I wish that the minister would look at it seriously and terminate that contract immediately from Nangodi to Red Volta.
“We live in [an era] of action and action must take place. He is not doing any job there. And it would not be proper for him to have 13 kilometres of the road done by him. There would be no uniformity and that will not be good for us. The contract should be terminated immediately,” Mr. Ayine explained with a tone of disappointment.
Features of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakon Road
The first 2 kilometres of the road from the Mobil Roundabout in Bolgatanga, the regional capital, will be a dual carriage with asphalt, according to the engineers.
“There are other facilities coming with this project. We shall have axle load station. We shall have toll station. And there is room for some social interventions like small lorry park for some of the towns along the road.
“There are 3 bridges as well. The steel bridge in Bolgatanga will go and it will become double. It’s going to be removed and two new ones will be put in its place. The Red Volta bridge will stay; we’ll build a parallel one. The White Volta bridge will also stay and we’ll build a parallel one. There are going to be streetlights and traffic calming measures. We’ve done quite a lot of work,” disclosed Ing. Hammond, flanked by Paulo Faria, Queiroz Galvão’s Production Manager, and Ing. Peter Dagadu, a bridge construction specialist.
The Regional Minister retired to his office, satisfied with the reconstruction work being done on the Sandema-Chuchuliga Road in the Builsa North District by Myturn Limited as well as the pace and quality of the asphalting of the Navrongo Township roads in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality by the same company. He was conducted round the project sites by Ing. John Robert Wilhelms, Project Manager for Myturn Limited.