Location: Kejetia, Kumasi; Ghana
Contractor: Contracta Engenharia, Brazil [Design and Build]
Project year: November, 2018 [expected]
Transportation has always been an inevitable and indispensable aspect of human life. From historical perspectives of walking, throughout technological advancements to the invention of safer and cost effective means of travelling via land, air and water; the benefits of transportation has not been appreciated more than now. Transportation has the undoubted potential of increasing the fortunes of a country’s economic activities and it is very effective if it has the capability of providing economic and social opportunities and benefits (Rodrique, 2013). The Kejetia lorry park was a typical transportation node found within the Kumasi metropolis and had evolved over the years to be the most vibrant focal point within the city. Increase in the population of Kumasi (GSS, 2012), increase in vehicular volume (Drivers and Vehicular Licensing Authority (DVLA), 2013) and increase in economic activities had put a lot of pressure and demand on the lorry park. There was therefore, the influx of people coupled with increased volume of vehicles and competition for space caused by commercial activities within the lorry park. Traffic congestion was on the rise in the terminal and this was causing total traffic congestion in the Kumasi metropolis; since all major trading routes in the city leads into the lorry park (Adarkwa and Poku-Boansi, 2011). This caused reduction in productivity and decline in micro economic growth and its related issues as loaded vehicles would stay in traffic for an hour or more before exiting the lorry park.
In 2014, the Parliament of Ghana gave the approval for the Kejetia project for reasons we all believe stemmed from the aforementioned preamble of the essence of effective transportation in economic development. This is a project made possible by the Ghanaian government with the partnership and financing of the Brazilian government; with all the structural components and other materials for the project imported from Brazil. Construction started in 2015 and the decision to adopt steel construction was mainly hinged on speed of erection and the need to finish the project as early as possible although this costs more than the traditional masonry construction in Ghana.
The facility is designed to accommodate 300,000 people when it is full to capacity, but it is equipped with technology and measures put in place to evacuate everyone in 12 minutes in case of emergencies such as fire outbreak. Contracta, which is the company in charge of the facility will be managing it for two years after commissioning. The management of the facility after the two year period will be in the purview of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly [KMA].
Moving on to the project update and with an expectant completion in November, we have categorised the various zones of the project. These fall under shops, canteen / food court, transport section, clinic, crèche, ancillaries and this project update was made possible by a site tour organized by the northern chapter of the Ghana Institute of Architects.
Shops and Traditional stalls:
There are a little over 8400 shops in the facility, which one can say is the most dominant zone. A lot of concerns have been raised about why there are more shops than parking spaces; we believe more shops will generate more money for the facility managers. Whether it was a good decision or not, is a story for another day.
On the last floor which has a link at street level with the Komfo Anokye road can be found the main food court. Surrounded by this is a series of food stalls, each with a cooking area and a place for serving. Each kitchen is equipped with a gas stove for which tenants will be billed for gas supply.
This was the nucleus of the old Kejetia lorry park. Unfortunately or not, it has not been the focus of this new Kejetia market with some reasons being that the old lorry park caused a lot of congestion solely due to the voluminous nature of vehicles that used to ply it. Therefore, in this new design vehicles will not be allowed to park and wait for passengers within the facility. Rather, only loading and offloading will be done with the transport unions and the KMA managing this aspect of the facility. Waiting vehicles will be expected to park at a site to be prepared by the KMA at the Race Course, some 3 minutes drive from the facility. A mobile phone application has been developed by the management team to help facilitate when vehicles are supposed to come and load passengers. In all, there are 85 vehicular loading points within the facility with strict guidelines not to allow any vehicles giving out exhaust fumes to enter the facility.
This is to obviously cater for any health related issue that might occur either to tenants or customers using the facility. Included is a minor surgery area for emergency cases.
For those who will be working in or around the enclave of the new Kejetia market, you can send your children to the crèche.
These are other supporting spaces or facilities provided to enable the other main zones function perfectly. Examples include:
-Sewage treatment area:
-Outdoor public seating:
In addition, as part of the project is the development of the three major roads surrounding the project site.
To conclude, it is great for the city of Kumasi to accommodate such an industrial looking market/transport facility which stands in contrast to its architectural landscape. Whether it will help resolve or reduce the massive congestion that existed before this new development or the current constant congestion within such a transport node and the central business district [Adum] area; is an occurrence the people of Kumasi, especially public transport drivers are eager to witness.
Adarkwa K. K. and Poku-Boansi M., 2011. Rising Vehicle Ownership, Roadway Challenges and Traffic Congestion in Kumasi. In: K. K. Adarkwa, ed. 2011. Future of the tree: Towards Growth and Development of Kumasi. Kumasi: University Printing Press. Ch. 8
Driver Vehicular and Licensing Authority, 2013. Summary of registered vehicles in Kumasi
Ghana Statistical Service, 2012. 2010 population and housing census, summary Report of final results; Accra, Ghana Statistical Service
Rodrigue, J.P., 2013. Urban Transportation Problems. (Online) New York: Hofstra University. Available at: www.people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch6en/conc6en/chc4en.html (Accessed 12th October, 2013)