The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, has paid a working visit to inspects the progress of work on the ongoing construction of a 78 km standard gauge of Western rail line from Takoradi Port to Huni-Valley in the Western region.
The project was being undertaken by Amandi Construction Limited under a loan facility of 500 million Euros to build the standard gauge rail line from Takoradi to Huni-Valley.
In addition, the project includes the construction of stations, bridges, culverts as well as the supply of rolling stock.
The project is progressing and works are currently being carried out in various locations, namely Benso and Tarkwa.
The work is also encountered with some obstacles including right of way (Land compensation), closure of narrow gauge which is currently blocking the works and the completion of design in the port and Nsuta.
The visit is to enable the Minister ascertain the progress of the rehabilitation and the challenges the contractor is faced with. It’s also forming part of the minister’s monitoring programme which entails constant on-site monitoring to ensure speedily execution of the project in the scheduled date.
Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, was accompanied by the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Benjamin Kessie, Assistant Director of the Western Regional Coordinating Council, Ebenezer Teye Quaynor, Western Regional Police Commander, DCOP A. Osei Akoto, Western Regional NIB boss, Lord Nyartwi.
Others include; Western Regional Customs boss, Gloria M. Farmer, the Technical Advisor to the Regional Minister, Charles Cobbinah and an officer from the Information Service Department, Ato Kwamena Otoo.
The Railway terminal is part of the projects being executed to make transportation of goods less stress for people in the Western region and beyond.
The project, when completed, will serve as a major route for transportation of minerals and other bulk commodities such as manganese and bauxite.
The site manager, Gideon Anderson briefing the Regional minister and his delegation said, the 78 km Western railway line from Manso to Huni-Valley which includes the conversion of the narrow-gauge line between Kojokrom and Takoradi, as well as an extension of the standard gauge line into the newly expanded Takoradi Port.
He said 14% overall work has been done with 2.8 kilometres of existing rail line dismantled, adding that 12.7 km of excavation has been done with 11.5 km of block stabilisation.
“We have done 12.7 km of clearing, same as excavation, with rock stabilisation we have done 11.57 km, the road over-bridge is ongoing… We are also working on the Amante station, which is currently at the lentil level.”
Ehud Beeri, the Project Director for the Western Rail Line, said some of the challenges they are facing are the lack of finance for the project and the delay in compensation for property owners along the rail lines.
“Some of our current challenges on the project can be related to financial uncertainties, which our financiers have alerted the Ghana government on the situation.”
“Another is the issue of compensation for people who are to be compensated because their properties will be affected by the construction and that has not been done, which is delaying the project.”
He also stated that galamsey activity along the construction area is a problem for them, since illegal miners take advantage of their heavy machinery to mine after they have cleared the land for rail construction.
Hon. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who was satisfied with the work done so far said, the work will be extended to Nsuta by the end of this year to Ghana Railway Development Authority to begin the transportation of manganese and other foodstuff from Tarkwa to Takoradi.
This, according to him, will generate revenue to enable the government extend the work to other areas for economic growth.
The Minister was optimistic that the work which was 25% complete would be completed within the 42-months scheduled time.
He, therefore, said the government is committed to the revitalization of the railway sector to enhance trade and industrial growth to reduce poverty and boost growth.