A comparative study of labour intensive and capital intensive road works in the Bekwai Road District

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Rural access roads have received more attention in Ghana in recent years; due to its multiplier effect on the economy. As a result, budgetary allocations have been made towards the improvement of rural roads. Despite these efforts, most of the rural access roads are in deplorable state. About 63 per cent of Ghana’s feeder roads are in deplorable state due to inadequate maintenance. The major problem hindering feeder road improvement is the inadequacy of funds allocated for improvement activities. In view of this, it is deemed essential for minimum cost approach to be adopted towards the improvement of feeder roads. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) did a study in Ghana and recommended Labour Intensive technique as the appropriate technique for feeder road improvement. This technique was then adopted to supplement the operations of the Capital Intensive technique in terms of feeder road improvement. The labour Intensive technique is currently in operation in the Easter, Western, Asha.nti and Brong Ahafo Regions, hence the co-existence of the two techniques in these areas. One of the techniques is deemed to be relatively more cost effective than the other. But no formal and structured study had been undertaken to ascertain thesis. A comparative was therefore undertaken on two projects, one representing the Labour Intensive and the other Capital Intensive technique in the Bekwai Road District t ascertain the relative cost effectivness. Field surveys were conducted on the Afoako - Bekwai Road and the Esuowim - Antoakrom Road improvement projects, each project representing a technique, for comparison. The study revealed the Labour Intensive technique to be 17% cheaper than the Capital Intensive in terms feeder road improvement. In order to accurately assess the cost effectiveness of each technique, the Goal Achievement Assessment was employed. Out of this Labour Intensive technique was found to be relatively more cost effective and efficient technique with a score of 70% as against 45% for the Capital Intensive technique. Since the two techniques are to supplement each other recommendations were made for the improvement of their respective efficiencies and also to reduce cost. Some of the recommendations included the regular payment of Interim contract certificates to help hasten improvement activities on road projects. Also, to check the rampant breakdown of equipment, it was recommended that local equipment dealers should ensure that they have enough spare parts in stock and also go round the project to service the broken down equipment. To reduce improvement cost it was recommended that the formation width of feeder roads should have bearing on the volume of traffic and not to be determined arbitrarily. To ensure effective maintenance of the road it was recommended that the communities being served by the feeder roads be mobilised to undertake rountine maintenance activities on the road. Should the recommendations be been, it is hoped that conditions of feeder roads would be improved tremendously.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning, 1990