The Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) has announced a change of scope and name of the 85-kilometre Tema – Akosombo Single Standard Gauge Railway Line Engineering, Procurement and Construction basis to 97.3 kilometres Single Standard Gauge Railway Line Tema-Mpakadan.
The re-alignment that would cost an additional estimated $ 25 million was necessitated following a physical inspection and a further feasibility studies showing that the project, when completed, would pose a threat to the Akosombo dam.
Briefing the media during a working visit to the site on Monday, Mr Richard Dombo, Chief Executive Officer of the GRDA said the initial contract signed in 2016 did not have a comprehensive feasibility study.
“Upon assumption of office and a visit to the site, we realised that the train lines and the dam were 500 feet. The dam that has clay as the basics of it foundation would have over a period of time suffered degradation. The Volta River Authority also raised concerns about the rail line and all these forced us to effect the necessary change”, he said.
Mr Dombo explained that government and the implementing partners were negotiating about the cost involved in the changes and remarked that to build the capacity of local technical officers, the company had employed Ghanaian nationals on the projects.
Mr Udai Veer Singh, General Manger of Afcons Infrastructure limited noted that variation would include; an additional 65 culverts, 26-road bridges, two rail bridges and a 300-metre bridge on the Volta Lake
Touching on the progress of the project, he disclosed that 16 culverts had been completed, seven were in progress, seven rail bridges had been finished, while two were progressing steadily. Mr Singh stated that about 56.2 kilometres of formation made up of cut and fill had been done adding that the change would not affect the completion date of June 2020.
The project, when completed, he said would include; the construction of rail tracks of standard gauge, railway maintenance facilities for locomotive and wagons, building of stations at specific locations with communications and signal equipment and capacity building for personnel in all aspects of the railway system.
According to the General Manager, the project would facilitate the transportation of goods from Northern landlocked neighbouring countries to Tema Port through Multi-modal transportation and facilitate passenger connectivity between districts.
He said it would also help to re-vitalise the rail and lake transport systems with consequent social and economic benefits accruing from both nationally and more specifically within district levels, reducing transport costs, reducing Environment impacts and improved avenues of export of natural resources through better transportation facility.
At the sub-region, the project, Mr Singh said would improve connectivity to neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.