The Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, has stated that the Pokuase interchange project was initiated by former President John Dramani Mahama as part of interventions to reduce traffic congestion on the Pokuase-Nsawam highway.
He explained that it was during the Presidency of Mr Mahama that Parliament in November 2016 approved an $83.6 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB), with the government providing a counterpart funding of $11.1 million, for the expansion of the Pokuase-ACP Junction road in Accra to ease traffic congestion on that stretch.
“So the New Patriotic Party (NPP) cannot take credit that this current government started the Pokuase interchange project from the scratch. It was rather the vision and the work of the former administration to address traffic congestion in Accra,” he said.
Mr Agbodza stated this at a press conference in Parliament last Wednesday in response to claims by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Attah, that the NPP government commenced the processes towards the construction of the Pokuase Interchange project from the scratch in 2017.
At a meet-the-press conference in May, this year, Mr Amoako-Atta, who announced that the Pokuase interchange would be opened to traffic in the first week of July, stated that “This is the project that was started from scratch by President Akufo-Addo’s government.”
Rebutting the claim, Mr Agbodza said it was in a bid to deal with ever increasing traffic bottlenecks in the capital in 2016 that the former administration took certain critical decisions to address the situation.
He stated that the Tema Motorway, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange, the Obetsebi Lamptey interchange and the Pokuase interchange were all part of the overall masterplan during the era of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to improve vehicular movement in the capital.
He said in the case of the Pokuase interchange, Parliament approved the loan agreement for the facility in November 2016.
He quoted the then Director of the of the Department of Urban Roads, Dr Abass Aworlu, at the time the Pokuase interchange project was birthed to prove that the project began while the NDC was in power.
“Dr Aworlu in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra after the approval of the loan for the Pokuase interchange said the procurement process for the project will start immediately. He also gave an assured that his outfit will follow the necessary procurement guidelines in the execution of the project. According to him, the actual work will start by the second quarter of 2017,” he quoted the current Director of Urban Roads as saying.
He said Dr Aworlu knew the truth that “Pokuase is the vision and work of former President Mahama and the NDC which secured the loan and the procurement started because the project was funded by the AfDB.”
Mr Agbodza, therefore, urged the Minister of Roads and Highways to stop misleading Ghanaians on the issues when he knew the real facts.