President John Agyekum Kufuor at the weekend cut the sod for work to commence on a €37million dual carriageway from Oforikrom to Asokwa in Kumasi.
The project being jointly funded by the Government of Ghana and France forms part of government's move to handle the traffic situation in the city of Kumasi for easy vehicular movement.
The project, which will include the construction of an interchange at the Timber Gardens at Asokwa and improvement of the Lake road, is expected to be completed in two years.
It is being executed by a South Korean company, M/S Shinsung Engineering and Construction Limited.
The construction of the Oforikrom-Asokwa Bypass follows the near completion of the Sokoban Wood Village project, which is a key component of the project where wood workers at Anloga (who are carrying out their activities in the right of way for the road works) are to be relocated to give way for the construction of the road.
There would be a construction of another interchange at the Anloga traffic lights.
President Kufuor said that development of the Kumasi arterial road networks is on course in fulfilment of the government's promise made in November 2006 to undertake the Kumasi Road and Urban Development Project.
Roads earmarked for expansion in Kumasi are the Sunyani road from the Komfo Anokye roundabout to Abuakwa, which works had already started and scheduled for completion in 2010.
The Mampong road from the Suame roundabout to Ahwia and the Western Bypass from Sofoline to Santasi roundabout. The rest are the southern Bypass from Santasi roundabout through Ahodwo roundabout to Timber Gardens and the Eastern bypass from Timber Gardens to Oforikrom junction.
President Kufuor noted the significant aspect of the project was the outer ring road which is a 70 kilometre road around the city which would divert non Kumasi bound traffic away from the city.
Already a route location survey has been completed and properties which are to be affected have been assessed for compensation.
The President appealed to property owners to be patient with government and stop further developments of their properties while the acquisition processes proceed since any property development on the earmarked roads would greatly affect the progress of the project.
President Kufuor repeated the government's resolve to expand the country's transport infrastructure to support investment in the productive sectors of the economy, specifically agriculture, tourism, education, health and internal trade.
“Without doubt, investments in these sectors are critical to achieving a middle-income status and attaining the Millennium Development Goals,” the President said.
He stated that heavy government investment in the road infrastructure development has expanded the road network from 38,000 kilometres in 2001 to 63,000 kilometres as of 2007 and that from a rating mix of 27 percent good, 17 percent fair and 56 per cent poor in 2001, the road network now shows 46percent good, 35percent fair and only 19percent poorer as of 2007.
He disclosed that US$90million has been secured to rehabilitate the railway line.
The Minister of Roads and Transport, Dr Richard W. Anane said €10million has also been secured for the Anloga interchange and work would soon start for it to be done concurrently along the lines of the Oforkrom-Asokwa Bypass.
He said the construction of the project would further reduce human and vehicular traffic congestion in the city.
The French Ambassador to Ghana Pierre Jacquemot said his country would continue to support Ghana in her developmental efforts because of good governance, stability and cooperation existing between the two countries.
Daasebre Osei Bonsu, Mamponghene, who represented the Asantehene, said Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was very happy about road developments in Kumasi.
The Mamponghene appealed to the government to ensure the implementation of all projects that were on the drawing board for the metropolis.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, in an address read for him by his deputy, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, said the government was dedicated in the development of the Kumasi's infrastructure to match its growth.
He said Kumasi was strategically located at the heart of the country and the nerve centre of the road network which undoubtedly enhances commerce, tourism and business activities.