Complete the footbridges to save lives

BY: Daily Graphic

For many years, residents of Adenta, Ritz Junction and Madina have either clamoured or drawn the attention of the authorities to the impact the lack of pedestrian footbridges along the entire stretch of the three-lane carriageway from PRESEC through to the Adenta barrier is having on them.

Each day that the authorities refuse to heed their calls, innocent lives, mostly children, the future leaders of the country, are lost.

Since its construction about a decade ago, the highway has claimed the lives of about 118 people, and still counting.

A countless number have also been injured or maimed through accidents.

In their quest to force the authorities to act, residents of the area and their environs have given a November 12, 2018 ultimatum to demonstrate their frustration over the six uncompleted footbridges on the Madina-Adenta-Aburi highway.

They issued the ultimatum at a town hall meeting last Sunday, October 28, 2018. At the said meeting, many of the residents were clad in red T-shirts, with the inscription: #fixourfootbridgesnow, boldly inscribed in front and behind to signify their resolve to use all means to get the footbridges completed.

For them and many other people who do not live near or use that route, the lives already lost on the highway are too many for them to wait for that commitment to be fulfilled.

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The Daily Graphic finds the inaction of the authorities responsible for completing the footbridges most unfortunate and a demonstration of the lack of regard for the lives of the people.

We also blame politicians, particularly members of Parliament and chief executives of the various assemblies, for not openly voicing residents’ concern over the needless deaths on that route on a daily basis.

From certain quarters we have heard about the lack of funds to complete the project.

But we trust that prioritising projects will enable the authorities to complete the footbridges gradually.

What we are scared about is that human character cannot be predicted and the intended demonstration, although with good intentions meant to be peaceful, could end up being violent and create more problems for society.

Similar demonstrations in other parts of the country have ended in loss of lives and properties.

Protests can also aggravate the already bad traffic situation on that stretch of the highway where drivers spend hours on end traversing that route.

The Daily Graphic does not believe that the only thing that will push the authorities to take action is a demonstration.

We think that they must know better by taking proactive steps to deal with the situation, even if on a gradual basis.

While we sympathise with the residents, we appeal to them to ensure that they do not do anything that will create more problems but make their grievances known to the authorities peacefully.

In the same vein, we urge the authorities to take action immediately to calm tempers.

Finally, we urge pedestrians to ensure that when the footbridges are finally completed, they will use them and not cut corners by crossing the highway.

We have seen many of such bridges abandoned by the people while they risk their lives to cross the highways.

Let us make things work to avoid needless actions that will cost us more than what we would have used to fix the problems.