Potholes have become the nemesis of commercial drivers who ply the roads around the Kejetia lorry terminal, close to one of the largest markets in the West African sub-region. Unfortunately, some of these potholes are too wide to be avoided.
Drivers have only two choices: they either have to subject their vehicles to the effects of the perilous road or use other routes far away from the lorry terminal.
One of these wide potholes notorious for its ability to grind vehicles of all sizes and ages to their knees has been affectionately christened “Kejetia Manhole" by the drivers.
It has the capacity to ‘swallow’ three vehicles at a go. "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex and debilitating situation can best be conveyed with a single image or more images. This is what I have tried to do. (See pictures).
Locations of big potholes
The potholes could be found just after the railway line towards Pampaso from the Central Market. The next ones are at the exit and entry points on the Railways-Pampaso road. Another big pothole can be found on the way from the Komfo Anokye statue (Gee Roundabout) towards Pampaso.
The potholes are virtually scattered on most roads, especially all points around the central business market.
The area is already busy with robust human activities, including hawkers who have taken over the pavements. Unfortunately, the constant removal of their wares by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) guards has come to nought. And the situation has been compounded by the huge “manholes”.
The least rainfall fills the potholes to the brim and metamorphoses into the “Kejetia Manhole” and dirty pools. For the fear of the unknown, even drivers who are conversant with the “Kejetia Manhole” try to avoid it when filled with water.
Saloon car drivers dread passing through for fear of getting stuck in the middle of “Lake Kejetia”.
This is the centre of the Ashanti Region. This is neither a feeder road nor an abandoned highway, which is waiting for budgetary support. This is the centre of Kumasi, the Garden City of West Africa.
I became a laughing stock for the drivers, when they saw me taking pictures with my Samsung tablet. Initially, I thought they took me for a tourist but when I approached them, they explained that their laughter was born out of the fact that my action was one out of many instances this year that reporters have been seen taking pictures of the bad nature of the roads and asked them questions.
They suspect that probably, the more the issue is brought to the fore, the more the authorities ignore the problem.
Anger of drivers
Almost all the drivers the Daily Graphic spoke to complained about the fact that they had, on constant basis, changed their shock absorbers, bolt joints, tyre rod ends and coil springs.
Kwadwo Asante, a Benz Sprinter driver, did not take kindly to the decision by this Daily Graphic reporter to probe his perception about the nature of the roads.
Immediately this reporter approached him with his note book, spotting his white T-shirt embossed with the name of the media house he works for, “Graphic” on his right chest, he retorted in Twi: “Are you telling me that the city, regional and national authorities, who take money from us in the name of taxes and tolls, are not aware of the bad nature of the roads?’’
Another driver, Mr Kwadwo Amaniampong, believes that although Kejetia is a goldmine for the people in authority, because they make millions from the market women and drivers, they do not care about the health of the human beings who ply their trade in the area. “The stench emanating from the surroundings, coupled with the choked drains and bad nature of the roads, explains my points,” he added.
He stated that apart from destroying their vehicles, the constant driving on the bumpy and potholed road affected their health.
Mr Richard Musah, a pedestrian, suggested that drivers should stage at least a four-hour demonstration, blocking all access routes to the Kejetia lorry terminal to attract the attention of President John Dramani Mahama.
He was of the strong opinion that with such action, the road would receive attention.
Mary Anaman, a trader, pleaded with the Urban Roads to repair the roads to ease the traffic congestion that has become synonymous with Kejetia.
When reached for his comments, Mr Theodore Quaye, the Ashanti Regional Director of Urban Roads, told the Daily Graphic that his outfit had started working on the roads around the Kejetia Market.
He added that work on the road was progressing and would soon get to the Kejetia area to bring relief to both pedestrians and drivers.