Contractors face prosecution over road damage

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, has warned that any private property developer or contractor who leaves construction equipment and materials on a road while undertaking a project will be arrested and prosecuted immediately.

He said leaving equipment, such as concrete mixing machine and heaps of materials, including sand and stones, on the roads caused undue destruction to the roads and compromised public safety.

He said those whose actions caused destruction to the road network must be made to pay the full cost of the reconstruction of devastated roads, and that if the roads had to be reinstated, offenders must also bear the full cost.

“I want to sound a strong warning to all property developers anywhere in this country that nobody should attempt to carry out concrete work on the road. Wherever this happens, the person will immediately be arrested and prosecuted for causing destruction to public property,” he warned.

Inspection

Mr Amoako-Attah gave the warning when he visited the site of a private property near Aseda Hostel at North Legon Tuesday.

Read also: Spilled concrete threatens motorists - Ministry of Roads takes action

He had gone to the site to see if a warning he had given the property developer on Monday, August 30, 2021 to remove construction materials from both sides of the asphalt road had been heeded.

During the visit, it was observed that the developer had heeded the instruction of the minister, a development with which Mr Amoako-Atta expressed satisfaction.

Previous visit

The minister recalled that during his last visit to the project site last week, the property developer had placed concrete mixing machine, sand and stones on both sides of the asphalt road, compelling motorists to use a single lane of the road.

He said such unsightly development blocked the drains along the road, thereby stopping the flow of rainwater, and expressed satisfaction that his instruction had been carried through.

“I will not commend the property owner or the contractor because it is their responsibility to do the right thing, just like every Ghanaian. They have not done anything worth commending,” he said.

Recipe for accidents

In Mr Amoako-Attah's view, the practice where property developers piled construction materials on roads across the country did not only destroy such public property but was also a recipe for accidents.

He explained that the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) could provide adequate statistics on the number of vehicles that had somersaulted on roads as a result of the presence of heaps of sand and stones.

He said, for instance, that the budding musician, Ebony, was allegedly killed in a road accident when the vehicle on which she and other occupants were travelling somersaulted due to a heap of sand on the road.

“If you want the government to fix the country, everybody must fix himself or herself. It does not make sense that we call on the President to fix the country, yet the same people making the call are destroying the road.

“People must be sensible, intelligent and reasonable in our country, and this kind of indiscipline must stop. I am happy that the right thing has been done,” he said.

To curb accidents resulting from the heaping of materials on the roads, the minister instructed regional directors of the Ghana Highway Authority across the country to report to the police property developers who heaped sand and stones on the road for them to be arrested.

“When such reports come to the attention of the police, the property owners or contactors must be arrested immediately,” he said.

Background

On September 6, 2021, the Daily Graphic carried on its front page a story on how concrete spills by mixer trucks were destroying asphalt roads, endangering the lives of motorists and had become a nuisance in Accra.

The spills usually occur when concrete is being transported to construction sites and when residual concrete is washed from a mixer truck onto road surfaces after delivery, creating lumps that leave road surfaces rough and endanger the health and safety of road users.

Hardened lumps from spilled concrete are found on many roads in Accra, especially roads around the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, a section of the Graphic Road, around the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and some roads at Cantonments, Labone, East Legon and Adentan, between Assemblies bus stop and Ritz Junction, as well as on the GIMPA road.

Aside from degrading the roads, the hardened lumps also pose risks to motorcyclists, as they could cause bikes to skid off the roads and result in crashes.

Criminal

The Revised Road Traffic Regulation 2012 (LI 2180), Regulation 113, sub-regulation (1), criminalises these activities.

The law states, among others: “A person shall not deposit construction material or equipment on the road in a manner that is likely to impede traffic, cause danger, nuisance or injury to a person or damage to property.”

Sub-regulation two also states: “A person who contravenes sub-regulation (1) commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not below 25 penalty units and not more than 50 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months, or to both.”

With a penalty unit pegged at GH¢12, the minimum fine comes to GH¢300 and the maximum GH¢600.