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No more faulty traffic lights in Accra by June - Minister

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey & Joshua Bediako Koomson
Mr Kwesi Amoako Atta, the Minister of Roads and Highways, during his engagement with the journalists in Accra. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA
Mr Kwesi Amoako Atta, the Minister of Roads and Highways, during his engagement with the journalists in Accra. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA

The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako Atta, has stated that the problem of faulty traffic lights in Accra will become a thing of the past by June this year.

The ministry, he said, would establish a Traffic Management Centre to remotely coordinate all traffic signals.

The centre would also enable the Department of Urban Roads to undertake fault monitoring of traffic lights, he said.

Mr Amoako Atta gave the assurance when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series organised by the Ministry of Information, in Accra yesterday.

“By June we will not have such incidents of traffic light break downs,” he stated.

He said the project, which was being funded by the French development agency (AFD), would include the installation of Area-Wide Traffic Signal Control Systems.

“This project generally seeks to coordinate all the traffic signals along the major routes in the capital and manage traffic remotely from a Traffic Management Centre (TMC) to optimise flow on the Amasaman corridor and other major corridors in Accra,” he said.

He said the project was expected to be completed in June 2019 and that the construction of the TMC at the head office of the Department of Urban Roads was about 61 per cent complete.

Last October, the Daily Graphic published that the problem of faulty traffic lights in Accra had reached alarming proportions, with at least 100 traffic lights at 28 major intersections either down or malfunctioning.

The publication said the development had made drivers and pedestrians vulnerable to road accidents and knockdowns.

Road network

In the past two years, Mr Amoako Atta said, the government had sourced for funds for the implementation of critical infrastructure such as bridges, interchanges, roads and other projects to ensure the free movement of persons, goods and services within the country and the neighbouring countries.

The minister said “As of January 2017 the total road network in Ghana was 72,381 kilometres, of which 23 per cent was paved and 77 per cent unpaved, with 39 per cent of the network being in good condition, while 61 per cent was in poor condition.”

Contractors paid

As of January 2017, Mr Amoako Atta said, the road sector had indebtedness of GH¢1.56 billion, while total commitments and cost to complete ongoing projects in the sector stood at GH¢17.2 billion and GH¢12 billion, respectively.

To reduce the commitments, he said, the ministry took immediate steps to engage the services of a team of experts to undertake a rationalisation exercise.

Based on the recommendations of the team, which included the termination of non-performing contracts and the re-scoping of some ongoing projects, total commitment was reduced from GH¢17.2 billion to GH¢5.79 billion, representing a reduction of 66.3 per cent, he said.

At the end of November 2018, Mr Amoako Atta said, the government’s indebtedness to contractors stood at GH¢3.94 billion.

Over the past two years, he said, GH¢3.58 billion had been disbursed towards the payment of contractors for works executed, activities of the sector agencies and the repayment of loans contracted by the Road Fund.

The ministry also paid GH¢1.90 billion to contractors.

“Currently, payment to contractors is ongoing by the Ministry of Finance and the Road Fund. The government has gone to a great extent to pay contractors as part of its commitment to promote rapid development of road infrastructure throughout the country,” he said.

PWDs

The minister, who praised the efforts of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) recruited for the collection of tolls at the 36 toll points across the country, indicated that there were plans to employ more.

Currently, he said, 93 PWDs were manning tollbooths across the country.

Road safety

On road safety, Mr Amoako Atta said the Ghana Highway Authority, was implementing a number of road safety interventions on the various road networks in the country.

To that end, he said, the provision of interventions on hazardous sections of the N1 between Awutu Breku and Winneba was ongoing, while traffic lights were being reinstalled on the Pantang-Aburi and the Mallam-Kasoa highways.

He said slope protection works on the Ayi Mensah-Peduase road had been terminated and were being repackaged to be awarded to a different contractor.