Indiscipline on Pokuase-Nsawam stretch continues unabated
Lawlessness among drivers who ply the Pokuase-Nsawam stretch of the Accra-Kumasi highway continues, in spite of the media searchlight that was put on their irrational behaviour that tends to put lives at risk
motorists who are law-abiding, as well as pedestrians, who use the highway, are enduring scary times on that road that has become a death trap due mainly to the creation of over 74 unapproved U-turns by some drivers.
When the Daily Graphic visited the portion of the highway last Saturday, some drivers of tipper trucks, '', commercial motorbikes (Okada) and private vehicles were seen recklessly using the illegal U-turns to sneak in and out of the busy road to beat traffic.
Even at portions where there was no traffic build up, mainly from Amasaman all the way to Dobro and the Adoagyiri end of the highway, drivers were using the U-turns, overlooking the danger they posed to other road users.
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During the three-hour visit, at least two heavy trucks were found stuck in the median of two of the illegal U-turns at and following a downpour on Friday evening.
Although had gathered on many of the unapproved U-turns, that did not deter most of the drivers from using them to join the lanes on the other side.
The situation on the Pokuase-Amasaman stretch was appalling, as some motorists were spotted using the refilled median of the ongoing construction works on the Pokuase Interchange.
While the refilled median had been cordoned off with concrete barricades to ward off drivers, some private car drivers and motorbike riders took advantage of the open ends of the concrete barriers to use the median, compromising the safety of construction workers.
At a point, some of the construction workers rushed to block the loose ends of the strip, while a policeman from the Tesano Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) confronted the users.
“Immediately we refilled the median, drivers started passing through and we had to place concrete barriers to block access to the median,” one of the project engineers told the Daily Graphic, adding: “We do not need people and vehicles passing here when our heavy trucks are working.”
“Every morning around 5 a.m. there is always a huge traffic and you will find motorists driving on the shoulders of the road. Although barricades have been put there, some drivers, including uniformed officers, remove them and drive on the shoulders of the road,” a policeman who wanted to remain anonymous said.
The illegality on the Pokuase-Nsawam highway has become an unending nightmare for road users and people who live along that portion of the highway.
Following the failure of the Ghana Highway Authority to tackle the challenge, the Neighbourhood Watch Committee, under the protection of the Amasaman Police, the choked gutters in the median of 13 unapproved U-turns to prevent drivers from using them and to the resultant accidents.
However, during the visit to the area last Saturday, almost all the medians the committee were filled with sand, following the recent rains.
Sharing the concerns of residents of the area, the Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Seidu Bansi, said the residents took up the responsibility to desilt the median gutters following the killing of 15 people by speeding vehicles at from January to October 2018.
He blamed what he said were the frequent accidents in the area on the presence of the 13 illegal U-turns and said all appeals to the GHA and the Amasaman District Assembly by the community to find a solution to the problem had fallen on deaf ears.
He said hitherto some members of the committee always stood by the road in the mornings and when schools closed to help schoolchildren cross the highway safely because in the past there were frequent on the road.
The October 1, 2018 edition of the Daily Graphic carried a story about the presence of many unauthorised U-turns along the Pokuase-Nsawam dual carriageway which were used by both private and commercial vehicles to dodge traffic build up on the main road.
Two weeks after the publication, it appears that the Ghana Highway Authority, whose mandate it is to ensure safety on the highways to protect pedestrians and motorists, has taken no action to solve the problem.
Meanwhile, the Daily Graphic has been following up to find out the measures the authority was in place to stop the use of the illegal U-turns but the efforts have yielded no outcome, as officials at the GHA have remained tight-lipped.