THE BUREAU of Public Safety (BPS) has called on the Ministry of Transport in Ghana to immediately fence the Accra-Tema Motorway to prevent over 45 unapproved access roads linking that stretch to avert any danger.
According to BPS, until that is done, the Accra-Tema Motorway will continue to lose its essence of being called a motorway.
In a research report on the assessment of the risk on the Kwame Nkrumah Motorway, the Research and Advocacy Director of BPS, Mr Etornam Korda, said following several complaints from individuals since 2017 about the Accra-Tema Motorway, “we commissioned a project to verify and ascertain the status quo independently.”
Mr Korda said in order for BPS to ascertain the real picture of the situation, “we undertook survey activities of motorists and other road users of the motorway and also conducted a risk assessment of the use of the motorway and advised all stakeholders.”
He said the exercise was conducted from January 20 to March 31, 2019, and found out certain disturbing trends on the motorway.
The Director said the 19-kilometre stretch has 45 unauthorised U-turns out of which some 24 have a semblance of blockade while remaining 21 U-turns have been effectively created and frequently used by cars, mini-buses (trotros), tricycles and motorcycles and that the danger the situation creates for other road users should not be overlooked.
“We further counted 236 footpaths laced across the median of which many of them occurring at areas with established settlements within the buffer zone. This high number places pedestrian crossings on the motorway at an average of 12 crosses per every kilometre, thereby effectively defeating the continuous classification of this route as a motorway/freeway,” the research report stated.
BPS research identified 28 access points on the Tema to Accra stretch, six out of which access points were either restricted or completely blocked.
The research also found that the Accra to Tema carriageway had 23 access points with four of them either blocked or restricted, and that the description on the route is generally poor, and in some cases completely nonexistent.
This, according to BPS, impacts negatively on driver performance under rainy, foggy, nightly and other poor visibility weather conditions.
“While we observed most commercial drivers literally soliciting for passengers as they ply the 100km/hr limit route, we discovered 14 major stop/pick up points along both sides of the dual carriageway. This practice causes abrupt obstructions with a high potential of causing multiple traffic crashes with its (sic) attendant fatal consequences,” it stated.
It further stated that slow-moving traffic had become the norm as most heavy-duty trucks and trailers, tricycles and other slow-moving vehicles take to the speed lane, thereby restricting able vehicles from overtaking them.
The report says this posed hazard to the vehicle obstructing traffic flow, the other vehicles and unsuspecting pedestrians.
“Furthermore, some vehicles (especially cars, tricycles and motorcycles) travel counter-traffic for distances between 100 to 300 metres to negotiate U-tums or exit the motorway, “this practice poses great danger for oncoming traffic, especially at night.
“For the period of our survey and risk assessment we did not observe any consistent active effort of law enforcement with respect to traffic regulations, except in isolated cases of broken-down vehicles and road crashes where the police intervened to control traffic flow.”
The Kwame Nkrumah Motorway (Accra Tema Motorway) was opened to traffic in November 1965.
According to Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the weighted Average Annual Daily Traffic volume recorded in 2008 on the road was 65,200 vehicles per day, comprising 16% of vehicles in the medium and heavy groups. It is estimated that more than 20,000 vehicles used unapproved routes to join the motorway on daily basis.