Bekwai youth threaten to erect speed ramps

…if Highways Ministry fails to act to stop road carnage

Charred body of Kofi Amankwa the rider as found underneath the bus

Residents of Bekwai in the Amansie East Municipality of the Ashanti Region have expressed grave concern over the spate of carnage on the Bewkai-Anhwiankwanta bypass on a weekly basis.

They have appealed to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to construct speed ramps on certain sections of the said bypass, which traverses a heavily inhabited part of the town.

They have also appealed to the Member of Parliament (MP) and the Omanhene of the traditional area to intervene on their behalf, before further lives are lost through accidents.

The concerned residents, particularly the youth, are threatening to erect speed ramps across the road at the outskirts of the townm and at major intersections by the weekend, if the authorities do not address this problem, which has gone unattended to for the past 12 years.

Their concern comes from an accident last Sunday November 14, 2010, when a speeding Metro Mass Transit bus, with registration number AS 5412 Z, run into a motorbike around 8:00 p.m., dragged the body of the rider underneath it to a distance of about 200 metres, before it came to a halt, instantly claiming two lives in the process.

Last Sunday’s incident, in which Kofi Amankwa, 33, and Kofi Mensah, 31, perished, was the fifth to be recorded on that stretch of road in a week.

The residents attributed the situation to overspeeding on the part of drivers, ineffective monitoring by the local Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Police Service, and lack of visible road signs to caution drivers and other road users.

As an interim measure to reduce the killings, the residents have reiterated a recommendation by the Highways Ministry that the police ensure that drivers comply with the road traffic regulations, by not stopping or parking at accident-prone stretches of roads.

The aspiring assembly member for Premase-Nyameduase electoral area at Bekwai, Mr. Edward Quayson, has indicated that as far back as 2003, the then Amansie East District Assembly initiated steps to construct speed ramps at the Bekwai-Kokofu intersection on the Cape Coast major road, but the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), acting on the instructions of the then Ministry of Road and Transport, discouraged it, saying it contradicted the ministry’s policy statement on the construction of speed ramps and rumble strips on highways.

The Ministry, according to a correspondence dated September 29, 2003, and endorsed by the then Sector Minister, Dr. Richard W. Anane, on the matter to the GHA, said, “In the event where there is the need to construct speed ramps and rumble strips, a safety audit check should be conducted on the road, and approval obtained from the ministry before the construction.”

The Ministry’s position was that most of the speed rumps were constructed by “concerned communities” without reference to the road agencies, and that their designs and construction do not meet specifications, besides the fact that such speeding calming facilities are sometimes wrongly sited.

But the youth of Bekwai, incensed by the death of Amankwa and Mensah last weekend, have affirmed that they would not comply with the Ministry’s policy, unless an effort is made by the concerned authorities to save their lives.

They say the improvement the Highways Ministry claims to have initiated, by way of adequate warning road sings, cautioning drivers not to stop or park at some points of the road, was not enough to reduce the carnage, and that much more must be done as soon as practicable, to solve the problem before the Christmas festivities begin.

Meanwhile, the Bekwai Police are investigating the cause of the accident which involved the MMT bus and the motorbike.

The driver of the bus, who was not immediately identified, is yet to give a statement to the police.

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