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Abuakwa residents protest delay in Sofoline interchange project

Residents of Abuakwa and its environs in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of Ashanti, took to the streets to demonstrate against the delay in the execution of Sofoline interchange project and other road related matters in the district.

The demonstrators massed up in front of the Abuakwa police station, in the early hours of yesterday, amid chanting of war songs, impeding traffic flow as they blocked the main Kumasi-Sunyani highway.

They complained about the hardship drivers and passengers go through from Tanoso stretch to Abuakwa junction due to the heavy traffic jam as a result of the delay in the project. 

The dual carriage ends at Tanoso Apatrapa, instead of it to be continued to Abuakwa junction. 

The project that spans 11 kilometres of six-lane asphaltic concrete dual carriage, is being undertaken by China Geo Construction Limited, a Chinese firm.

It was started in August, 2007, and being funded by government, at initial estimated cost of GH¢73 million, with a constructional period of 36 months, but the delay has resulted in the contract sum being revised to about GH¢99.9 million.

The interchange, which forms part of the reconstruction of the Sunyani road through Kumasi, is about 92 per cent complete, and has partially been opened to traffic, thereby reducing congestion associated with that part of Kumasi, which connects to Obuasi, Sunyani and Kumasi city centre. 

It has been divided into three parts-the section from Abuakwa to the Apatrapa Junction; the Apatrapa Junction to the Bekwai Roundabout and the Bekwai Roundabout to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Roundabout, where an underpass would be constructed.

Currently, most of the completed work is on the six-kilometre Apatrapa Junction-Bekwai Roundabout portion, where the Sofoline Interchange is located. 

According to the spokesperson of the demonstrators, Nana Kwaku Appiah, government had refused to complete the project. 

He said: “In the 2017 budget, nothing was said about the project, similarly, nothing was said about it in the 2018 and 2019 budgets. We believe it is deliberate on the part of the government to relegate the project to the background.”

Nana Appiah said the demonstration would be continued until the project was completed.

FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI

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