President John Evans Atta Mills yesterday made an unexpected and rare visit to the Nsawam-Apedwa Junction stretch of the Accra-Kumasi highway, seen to be the busiest road in the country, to find out its progress.
The road has lately become an albatross around the neck of motorists because of its bad state, with some of them spending days on it because of breakdown of vehicles, attracting public anger.
The president was compelled to move to the road after members of the public as well as opposition elements constantly chastised him and the government for neglecting it, leaving travellers on that major road in serious distress.
Since the contract was given by the previous government in October 2008, work had stalled because the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) said there was no money for the construction of the road.
Ironically, huge sums of money had been paid to individuals, especially NDC cronies, who had done no work for the state in the name of judgment debts, like Alfred Agbesi Woyomeâ€™s GHÂ¢51.2million.
Travellers on the road have not been happy with the government for its lackadaisical attitude towards the completion of the road, even though it is a very important one in the country.
Last week, many vehicles and trucks got stuck on the road between Teacher Mante and Asuboi because of a downpour, making it impossible for free flow of traffic.
Last Monday, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Eastern Region at a press conference lambasted the NDC government for ignoring the road and rather paying huge sums of money to cronies as judgment debts.
The NPP said the NDC government was insensitive to the plight of the travelling public on the Kumasi-Accra highway after President Atta Mills had admitted that indeed travellers were going through great difficulty after using the road himself sometime ago.
The president conveyed the feelings of Ghanaians to the Chinese contractors over the undue delay in executing the project, saying that the government was prepared to meet with them (contractors) to thrash out any delayed payments that were supposed to be made.
He asked them to speed up work on the project to ameliorate the suffering of the travelling public.
The Chinese contractors said the whole project should have been completed in January 2013 but because of lack of funds, the project had stalled and could possibly be completed in June 2013.
The contractors however said one lane of the road would be completed by December this year so that travellers could use that for the time being.
The president was accompanied by officials from the Castle and the Ghana Highways Authority as well as Joe Gidisu, Roads and Highway Minister and Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister. The Eastern regional minister, Victor Smith, had to cut short his official visit to the Atiwa district to join the president to inspect the road.
From Thomas Fosu Jnr, Koforidua