Pokuase Interchange: Mahama or Akufo-Addo legacy? Here are the bare facts

President Akuffo-Addo has inaugurated the four-tier Pokuase Interchange today.

While members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are claiming the project to be one of John Dramani Mahama’s legacies, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) argues this is an Akufo-Addo project.

Fact-Check Ghana has looked into the project and presents the facts below.

The Pokuase interchange is a critical road linking the Central Road Corridor, which is the strategic road connecting the Port of Tema to Kumasi, Ghana’s second major city, and onto Burkina Faso.

AfDB approves loan

In September 2016, the African Development Bank (AfDB)approved a sum of  $83 million loan to support the Accra Urban Transport project to improve the road infrastructure in the Greater Accra region in Ghana.

The AfDB said its financing would fund the construction of a modern 3-tier highway interchange at Pokuase, a suburb of Accra, and 10 kilometres of interconnected urban roads. The infrastructure, according to the AfDB, was to be operational by 2020.

“The project will stimulate industrialisation, provide income generation opportunities, promote affordable transport services and generally improve the livelihoods of people in the project area,” said Mam Tut Wadda, the project’s team leader at the AfDB, at the approval of the loan.

Parliament’s approval of loan and counterpart funding of $11 million

Two months after the bank approved the loan, on November 2, 2016, Parliament approved the $83.6 million loan adding that the Government of Ghana (GoG) was to offer a counterpart funding of $11.1 million which would put the total cost of the project at about $94 million.

The Director of the Department of Urban Roads, Mr Abass Mohammed Awolu, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the project comprised a three-tier interchange with the first level earmarked to head for the Nsawam road while the second level of the tier will lead traffic taking left-turn movements from the ACP Junction and the third level will link up the ACP road onto the Awoshie-Pokuase road. These details were confirmed by the ADB on its September 17, 2016 project description publication.

Mr Awolu said the actual work will start by the second quarter of 2017 while the expected period of completion will be within three-and-a-half years.

On November 12, 2016, the then Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, said the 94-million-dollar project included other amenities such as schools, hospitals, and library. He made this known after signing the agreement. The project was expected to commence in the first quarter of 2017 and be completed in 36 months.

Sod-cutting for the project

It was, however, on July 3, 2018, when Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo, on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, cut sod for the project. At the ceremony, he said the project consists of the construction of a 5km road from Awoshie to Pokuase. It also included a 2km road to link the Accra-Nsawam Highway, another 2km road to Kwabenya and the construction of 10km of local roads.

Pokuase Interchange redesigned from 3-tier to 4-tier

In June 2019, Kwabena Bempong, the associate vice president of the Associated Consultants limited, the consultant company for the project, disclosed to Ghanaian Times that the Pokuase Interchange had been redesigned from 3-tier to 4-tier to facilitate more vehicular movement and flow of traffic.

He said the redesigning occurred after a ‘value engineering’ of the design for the project, adding that the new design was technically superior to the old one.

“The new design will not increase the cost of the project but rather reduce it and will improve the efficiency of the project,” Mr Bempong said.

He explained that the new design required no traffic light and has a lane for traffic from Accra to Kumasi and another from Accra to Awoshie.

In a presentation highlighting infrastructural projects undertaken by President Akufo-Addo on August 19, 2020, Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia confirmed the change in the plan of the project.

“The loan agreement for this project was signed in November 2016 for a 3-tier interchange, when we came into force, we looked at it from a value for money perspective, renegotiated it for a four-tier interchange for the same amount of money,” the Veep said.

Dr Bawumia confirmed the redesigning of the interchange from 3-tier to 4-tier | Photo: Bawumia’s Facebook page

President Akufo-Addo commissions first phase of the project

On November 25, 2020, President Akufo-Addo commissioned the first phase of the project, opening the Awoshie to Accra and Kumasi to Awoshie part of the project to motor traffic.

From the evidence adduced above, it is clear that the Mahama-led government did the initial work by negotiating and signing the grant for the project. On their part, the Akufo-Addo-led government executed the project by cutting sod for it, redesigning it from 3-tier to 4-tier and ensuring it is completed.

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