Looming danger at Nkawkaw

BY: Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh

In a battle all you need to make you fight is a little hot blood in the knowledge that it is more dangerous to lose than to win. 

There are many things which must not be allowed to fester before they are dealt with to promote the safety and security of human beings. It is, thus, unfortunate that while the Kumasi-Accra end of the Nkawkaw dual carriageway has not been completed, heavy duty vehicles and articulated trucks have turned the Accra-Kumasi entrance of the lane into a parking lot.

Commuters on the Accra-Kumasi Highway will be familiar with the congestion at the Nkawkaw junction of the dual carriageway. Vehicles park on both sides of the road such that oncoming vehicles are squeezed in between parked vehicles, and where there is movement from both ends of the road, one has to stop and allow the other to pass before one can move on.

What makes the situation even more dangerous is the criss-crossing of the road by hawkers, who do not seem to be bothered about the looming and imminent danger they face as they ply their trade. We do not have to record fatalities before the necessary measures are put in place.  There is, therefore, the need for the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union(GPRTU) to put their heads together and see what could be done.

It is a secure safety measure that long distance heavy duty vehicle drivers take time to rest along the route. However, the safety of other road users, pedestrians and hawkers around Nkawkaw cannot be mortgaged or sacrificed for the comfort of those drivers. That is why it must be pointed out to the deviant drivers that they should park off the road and know that vehicles ply that route all round day and night.

It may be worthwhile if officials of the NRSC and GPRTU could embark on a fact-finding tour to see how the drivers recklessly park their vehicles on that portion of the road and force moving vehicles to meander through the maze, as if that portion of the road is a car park rather than a major highway.

Commenting about the situation, a lady friend who drew my attention to the danger remarked, “ Yaw, do we want to see the blood of innocent people being shed before we begin to act, all we need to do is to educate the drivers to observe road traffic rules by not parking on the road but off it, and they can spread out along it rather than concentrating on the same spot and parking on both sides of it.

Where should moving vehicles pass, and if we are not careful and a big vehicle breaks down in between these parked vehicles, travellers would needlessly be stranded. What are we waiting for ?” she emphasised and pleaded that I take up the matter and draw public attention to the danger which is avoidable but imminent if not checked.

But in all fairness, that is not the only spot along the Accra-Kumasi Highway, where heavy duty vehicles stop and park overnight. Many drivers equally park around the Apedwa Junction and around the Customs Checkpoints at Nsutam and near Kubease, but those drivers are considerate of other road users and park off the main lanes for vehicles to move. Those drivers who park at the Nkawkaw Junction must not be allowed to continue with their recklessness and wanton behaviour.

Additionally, there is the need to find the resources and complete the end of the Kumasi-Accra section, such that even if there is wrong parking, that would be spread on both carriageways and there will be no meeting of vehicles from opposite directions. That will in itself reduce the danger to  commuters, pedestrians and mostly hawkers.

The objective of  that portion of the road is to facilitate free flow of vehicles around that corridor. Nothing must be done to undermine that.  We need to mobilise to fight the canker and ensure the safety and security of all those who use that road at that spot.

We should not behave like the vulture, who thinks about shelter, only during the rainy season and soon forgets about it as soon as the dry season sets in. No human life is that cheap to be sacrificed before we act to stem the tide and draw the attention of drivers to the looming danger that their acts pose to innocent souls.

A stitch in time, they say, saves nine, and what is more important is that prevention is better than cure. Had I known, again is always at last but it is better late than never. We must fight to uproot the looming canker before it grows to devour us.