Economic Appraisal and Prioritisation of Feeder Road Projects in Ghana

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There have been concerns that procedures adopted by the Department of Feeder Roads for selecting road projects for improvement have neither been objective nor transparent (Hine, J. et al, 2000b). It was perceived that road projects were selected for intervention not necessarily due to their economic efficiency or social benefits to the communities, instead, projects were selected for political expedience (Fouracre et al, 1999). There is therefore the need for a prioritisation methodology that seeks to combine economic efficiency with inclusive decision-making procedures and institutionalised reviews to promote downward accountability. To help minimise this problem, this research was setup with the aim to identify significant variables in economic appraisal process of feeder roads and develop an outline for analysing and prioritising feeder road projects in Ghana. In order to achieve its aim and objectives, the research adopted a three phase strategy comprising a review of literature, field questionnaire survey and data analysis. Data were collected from road agencies in Ghana, local consultancy firms in road sub-sector and donor/development partners to Ghana‟s road sector. The research achieved an overall response rate of 74.2%. Analytical tools including Relative Importance Index, Weighted Average, and Kappa Statistic for multiple raters using categorical classification and Discriminant Analysis were employed to analyse the field data leading to the following main conclusions: Cost-benefit Analysis was ranked as the suitable technique for appraising feeder roads in Ghana. On cost of feeder road investment, initial construction/rehabilitation cost, major maintenance cost and routine annual maintenance cost were ranked in decreasing order as significant cost variables in appraising feeder roads in Ghana. On the other hand, travel time savings by passengers and freight (TTS), increased in reliability of transport service and stimulation of economic development in road zone of influence were ranked as significant benefit variables in appraising feeder roads investment in Ghana. It was also concluded that, the inclusion of social benefits in appraisal of feeder roads become significant in Ghana where investment could provide significant improvement in vehicle access as in situation where there was no existing access at all or the access is at risk of been cut. It was also found that; prioritisation index was ranked as suitable economic evaluation criteria for selecting feeder roads for intervention in Ghana. Finally, project investment costs, delays in construction period and discounting/evaluation period were ranked as significant sensitive and uncertain variables in appraisal of feeder road projects in Ghana. Generally, there were high degrees of agreement beyond chance for all variables ranked among respondents. After the study, it was recommended that the Cost-Benefit Analysis technique proposed by the study as the suitable technique for appraising feeder roads in Ghana be extended to include social benefits in order to enhance its efficiency. It was further recommended that a study be conducted to identify social benefits variables relevant to appraisal and prioritisation of feeder roads projects in Ghana.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Building Technology Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT, 2010.