Trucks on shoulders of Tema roads unacceptable — Roads Minister
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, has bemoaned the constant presence of articulated trucks parked indiscriminately at sections of the Tema Harbour to Akosombo Highway.
He said the presence of the loaded articulated trucks with cargo beyond the acceptable weight levels along the shoulders of the highway between Tema Harbour Roundabout and the newly constructed Tema Motorway Interchange destroyed the road.
Speaking to journalists last Wednesday during an inspection tour of the ongoing VALCO roundabout to Kpone road reconstruction project, the Roads Minister hinted that drastic steps would be taken to tackle the problem.
The shoulders of the highway right from the Tema Harbour Roundabout through the Mankoadze Roundabout, the VALCO roundabout to the newly constructed Tema Motorway Interchange have been taken over by articulated trucks, a situation which poses a threat to other road users.
The haphazard manner in which articulated trucks have been parked along some major streets in the Tema Metropolis has become a source of concern for road users.
These haulage trucks used to park near the Tema Toll Plaza of the Motorway but prior to this year's independence day celebration in March, the Greater Accra Regional Minister in a special Operation Keep your Frontage campaign, ejected the truck operators.
The drivers have since resorted to parking their loaded vehicles along the shoulders of the highway.
The Daily Graphic gathered that these haulage truck drivers parked along the shoulders of the road because they went through documentation processes at the port before proceeding to their destinations which included the Sahelian countries.
In addition, some of the drivers and their mates have turned sections of the shoulders of the road into their abode, creating sanitation challenges because they bath and defecate in the open spaces due to the absence of sanitary facilities.
Mr Amoako-Atta said while the government continued to spend billions of cedis to fix the road, transporters from other countries who had come to convey cargo from the port were not adhering to the axle load regime.
He noted that apart from the dead weight of the parked trucks which caused the quick road degeneration, some of the vehicles were usually repaired on the road, thereby spilling petroleum products on the highway.
He said such petroleum products caused materials used to construct the highway to disintegrate fast, thereby damaging the highway.
"Interestingly, I am told these truck drivers cannot do same in their home countries, but find it convenient to abuse the roads here in Ghana,” the roads minister said, and cautioned the truck drivers to stop the road abuse.
Mr Amoako-Atta also accused some of the staff manning the various axle load checkpoints along the major roads and some security agencies at the various checkpoints of condoning overloading that endangered the safety of highways and road users.
He said the ministry would have a meeting with the Ministry of Transport, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Ghana Police Service to address the challenge.
Meanwhile, some of the haulage drivers have appealed to authorities to assist them by creating parks where they can park vehicles while awaiting documentation processes after loading cargo from the port.
They said the absence of a designated parking area had contributed to the current situation.
Iddrisu Outara, a driver, in an interview said they were prepared to pay a fee for such parking spaces when constructed, stressing it was not their intention to flout traffic regulations.