By Samuel Akumatey/ Caleb Kuleke/ Sumaiya Salifu Saaed, GNA
Ho, Nov. 01, GNA - Construction of the Ho-Sokode dual carriage road has staggered for over three years with great inconveniences to road users in the Volta Regional capital, Ho.
In the last 12 months, the stretch became virtually impassable necessitating agitations by youth groups and traditional rulers to draw government's attention to the deplorable state of the road leading to the capital.
The agitations a few months ago reached the tipping point with some groups organising press conferences on the road and others threatening to close it.
Promises by the Volta Regional Minister and the Road Minister's reassurance that contractors will return to site first week in September calmed tempers.
However, November is here and there are no contractors on site with the stretch becoming worse off with the onset of the rains.
Deep gullies have developed from erosion, a common sight across the stretch, especially around the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority office and along the foot of the Kabakaba mountain range.
The situation has affected the beauty of the Oxygen city (Ho) - beautification trees gone and colours of houses and shops lining the road changing to brown due to dusts from the stalled construction work.
Businesses along the stretch are experiencing setbacks due to the bad nature of the road.
Mr Vincent Edze, a carpenter, whose shop is at Sokode Green Valley, said customers from the Ho no longer called at his shop due to the nature of the road.
He complained about how the delayed in the construction of storm drains caused rainwater to seep into his shop causing damage to working materials and tools.
“The situation is worrying. Am not able to work and market my products as before. Customers have to pay upfront before I can produce,” he said.
Lawrence, another carpenter who owns the Anointed Construction woodworks at Sokode Lokoe showed GNA furniture products still not sold months after production.
“These things have been here for more than three months yet the Assembly and the Revenue Authority are locking our stores and demanding money...,” he complained.
The Manager of a filling station on the stretch at Green Valley said, “we lost about 60 per cent of our expected sales. Our customers are complaining of the dust and we can only pray for the road to be completed in time.”
Officials of Pride Hotel, also in the Green Valley suburb said only three or four of its 17 rooms were booked in a week.
Mr Edison Tsivor who manages the facility said prior to the current state of the road, the hotel was always sought after with all rooms almost always booked.
“Customers say they cannot come here because of the road. Currently we are putting up a modern fitting shop behind the Hotel and we need the road to be done for business to go on”, he said.
Petty traders along the road also voiced their concerns, with home owners grumbling over rainwater from the road getting into their homes and rooms.
Some commercial vehicle drivers told GNA they kept using their returns on shock absorbers and suspensions, with a few saying they stopped using the road.
Mr Stanley Nelvis Glate, a former Assemblyman for Borsontoe Electoral Area in Ho, appealed to government to consider the plight of residents and business owners and fix the road.
“Are we saying that constructing this road entering the Regional capital will break the government? If anything at all, do just one lane for us. Today this, tomorrow that. Businesses are suffering and many young entrepreneurs have been affected,” he lamented.
He said many shops had been closed on the road with Dzialet, and Lovemark ventures, both wholesalers with ware houses along the stretch suffering low patronage.
“Major eateries have suffered and are now surviving solely on pre-orders for events. This car washing bay used to have over ten workers, but now only one person is here,” Mr Glate said.
Some traders in the area also complained about the unwillingness of taxis and other commercial drivers to convey their goods to and from market centers to the area.
Meanwhile, ahead of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo's two-day tour of the Region, on November 4th and 5th, a construction equipment is seen on the stretch filling some bad sections.
Fixing of roads in the Region-the popular Eastern Corridor, Peki-Hohoe, Ho-Kpando, Ho-Aflao and Ho-Accra will surely be a hot meal on the President's table for people in the Region.
There's excitement in the air. Preparations reaching fever pitch with high expectations for the President's visit.
It is the hope of the people that before the President leaves on November 5th, contractors will be back to site on major roads in the Region, especially the Sokode-Ho dual carriage.GNA