The Water Resources Commission (WRC) has called for the immediate relocation of the Kasoa toll booth on the Mallam-Kasoa Highway in the Greater Accra Region to save the Densu river from further pollution, as a result of commercial activities in the area.
The Commission said the change in Government in 2016 has derailed its efforts to relocate the Tuba toll booth.
Since 2011, there have been several efforts by the WRC and the Ga South Municipal Assembly to relocate the toll booth to a more conducive area because its current location is ecologically sensitive.
Speaking to Goldstreet Business, Chief Basin Officer of the Densu Secretariat of the WRC, Dr. Ronald Abrahams indicated that the Commission is still pushing harder for the relocation of the toll booth to be incorporated into the numerous road projects currently ongoing by the Roads and Highways Ministry.
Potable drinking water
It is estimated that the Densu River – which is also the setting of the Weija Dam, serves as a source of potable drinking water for more than 3 million people in Western Accra and some parts of the Central Region which also serves more than 50% of residents in Accra.
According to him, the springing up of some cottage industries and various activities of hawkers around the toll booth is seriously impacting negatively on the water that is treated for human consumption.
“There was a committee on Lands and Natural Resources that was working on it. When the change came, the whole people working on the committee for the relocation of the toll booth were also changed, and this became an issue which was hanging”, Dr. Abrahams recounted.
He added that the Commission has been able to engage key stakeholders who are interested in the project and this time around, he is very optimistic that the sector minister, Mr. Kwesi Amoako Atta will endorse the project for it to be carried out. He was hopeful that before year end, the project would be far advanced.
Dr. Abrahams further mentioned that it has been quite difficult meeting the minister to get his consent and subsequent approval, but added that possibly some equally important national assignments may have been keeping him busy for the Commission to meet him. He however stressed that hit outfit is still working harder for the project to come to fruition.
“It’s been quite difficult meeting him. We have gotten him once and he was very busy. He told us we should give him some time and he will call us into a meeting to discuss the matter. I went there again I couldn’t see him; I had to go there again after a while and I had to rebook an appointment. Since then I haven’t heard anything”, Dr. Abrahams lamented, and added that “obviously, I could see there are lots of road works going on and that may account for my inability to meet him”.
Cost of the project
Regarding cost of the project, the Chief Basin Officer revealed that the Roads and Highways Ministry will bear the cost. According to him, the project will not cost huge sums of money because it does not involve putting up an entirely new structure. He noted that the same materials at the current place will not be demolished, but dismantled and transferred to the new location. “The only thing that matters here is the concrete basement which they have to redo”, he said.
He further stated that the Commission had already found a suitable place for the relocation of the toll booth, which he said will be situated at Ngleshie Amanfrom (Galilea), on the same stretch of the Mallam-Kasoa Highway. Dr. Abraham stressed that the choice of this new site is very paramount to the Commission because it could also expedite the smooth take-off of the project.
Asked what the Commission factored in the selection of the new location, the Chief Basin Officer noted that a suitable location in the same region was very important.
“Initially we wanted it around Budumburam [Liberia Camp, Central Region], but we thought they [ministry] will find it difficult to approve it; we have actually decided on a near location which will not be far at all which will also be off the water area” he explained.
Commuters on the stretch of road would finally enjoy some relief when the project is finally completed. Dr. Abrahams hinted that an electronic payment system will be introduced to enable fast payments to reduce traffic in the area.
By Dundas Whigham