The 117.94-kilometre Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom road project is progressing steadily.
The 127-million Euro project, with dual carriageways at some sections, passes through six districts and municipalities — Bolgatanga Central, Binduri, Pusiga, Garu, Bawku West and Bawku — and links the Upper East Region to Burkina Faso and Togo.
About 45 per cent of the work is complete, and, according to Peter Dagadu, the consultant to the Brazilian construction firm, Queiroz Galvao, the project would be officially ready and opened to traffic in March 2023.
Mr Dagadu made this known when the Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, led a team of officials from the Regional Coordinating Council to inspect progress of work on the three bridges being constructed as part of the project.
The bridges are at Zuarungu, Tilli and Bazua.
“As a company, we are working so hard to ensure that the project is completed ahead of schedule to achieve the intended purposes,” the consultant said.
The project, which began in the latter part of 2016, was expected to be completed in two-and-a-half years.
However, the contractors withdrew their equipment from the site for about a year due to the non-payment of arrears.
The preliminary contract sum for the project was pegged at GH¢613 million but it was later revised to 127 million Euros.
Two construction firms — Mawums Construction Limited, a Ghanaian company, and Queiroz Galvao from Brazil — were awarded the contract and the Ghanaian firm has already completed its part.
Mr Dagadu said the contractor, together with the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) and the Land Valuation Board, had developed a resettlement plan with an initial amount of one million Euros to pay compensation to property owners along the road whose properties were destroyed to make way for the project.
He stressed that every legal property owner whose property had to be destroyed to pave the way for the execution of the road project would be compensated appropriately per the terms of the contract.
“Fortunately for us, we don’t have challenges with funds, as the government has made the needed funds readily available to speed up the completion of the project and bring relief to users,” he said.
For his part, Mr Yakubu expressed satisfaction with progress of work so far.
“I really want to commend the contractor working on the project, since he has so far done a fantastic job,” he said.
“The construction of this road project is very important to the people of the area, as it connects to many districts and Ghana’s neighbours, particularly Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Niger,” he added.
He stressed that the construction of the road would bring relief to particularly farmers in Bawku, the region’s food basket, who struggled to transport their produce to market centres.
“Obviously, this road project, when completed, will attract many investors into the area to set up businesses and firms to improve the region’s economy and provide decent jobs for some unemployed youth,” the minister said.
He said as part of the project, a first-class bypass would be constructed within Bawku, which would go a long way to expand and make the town very beautiful.
The Upper East Regional Engineer of the GHA, Philip Samini, said an axle monitoring station would be constructed at Saaka, a community along the road, to check overloading of vehicles, ostensibly to prolong the lifespan of the road.
He cautioned drivers against repairing their breakdown vehicles on the roads, as drops of engine oil and diesel on the roads often led to their destruction.