Renowned Road and Building Consultant, Engineer Abdulai Mahama has expressed concern over what he describes as “branding of figures” by some politicians when it comes to the cost analysis of roads and interchange construction in the country.
He raised this concern in relation to the recent address by the Vice President Dr.Mahamudu Bawumia on the achievements of the NPP government in infrastructure as against the performance of the erstwhile NDC government.
In a Town Hall Meeting in Accra yesterday, the Vice President stated that while the NPP government is constructing four major interchanges; Tema, Pokuase, Tamale and Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges at a cost of $289m, the Mahama administration built the Kwame Nkrumah interchange alone at a cost of a staggering $260m.
However, Abdulai Mahama in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show made known that such a comparison is flawed as so many factors need to be considered.
Outlining these factors that are considered, he said: “First and foremost for an interchange like the Circle Interchange, because it is closer to homes and workplaces of people, the level of work or the methodology is different. You would have to embark on the demolition of houses, edifices and facilities. The cost of demolition may take a greater part of your provisional sum.
It could happen that a project in Kasoa will be fifteen percent lesser than what will be done in Accra or Circle even with the same design. It is because of nature. We consider the soil or ground for the project. If the ground is a mid-up ground, then it will be unsuitable to put the foundation of the project on it. The extent of excavation, the distance between the location of the interchange and the material haulage distance alone can escalate the cost of a project”.
He denounced the attitude of politicians making vague comparisons without “better and further particulars” as he declared that every road project is unique.
Exemplifying his point on the uniqueness of road construction, he cited the popular Circle Interchange by stating,
“Circle is a fairly flood-prone area with so much water in the soil. You need to consider how it will be levelled and where the stones will be transported from. What is the distance between Circle and Shai Hills?
The circle interchange is not purely concrete. They brought in two components; the steelworks and concrete works.
During the building of the Circle Interchange, one of the things we noted is that for example if you were to destroy the Sankara interchange after its lifespan, you can totally destroy it. But the circle interchange is not so. The components of the steel can be used for over two hundred years as against the normal concrete which could have a lifespan of about fifty years. They can remove the concrete supporting the carriageways on the Circle Interchange but when you want to demolish the Circle Interchange after about fifty years, the only component that will be destroyed is the concrete work. But the steel work can be reused for about two hundred (200) years”.
He added that even the chemical for coating the metal of the interchange will last for up to about twenty-five (25) before it is re-coated.
Illustrating why the cost involved in the construction of the Circle Interchange was value for money, he said, “If the Circle Interchange is let’s say 60million euros but when after fifty years, one component which is about 22 million or 20 million euros is the only one that will be destroyed but the forty million will be reused again that is value for money in the eyes of the engineer”.
By: Alberta Dorcas N D Armah