It is no more safe to drive on the Tarkwa Agona Nkwanta-Takoradi road, considering the number of heavy duty haulage trucks that have invaded the route. These trucks have become too many on the road, to the extent that their presence poses great fear and danger to other motorists and commercial truck drivers, including pedestrians.
The trucks, per their large sizes, have forcibly taken over the road competing for space with other smaller commercial trucks.
Considering the business engaged in by the haulage trucks, the number of the heavy trucks which ply that road has doubled in recent times, making it not only busier, but dangerous to use.
Sample statistics available to the Western File indicates that for every ten commercial vehicles using the road, four are heavy duty haulage trucks, which compete for space with smaller commercial vehicles such as ‘Trotros’ (mini buses) and taxi cabs.
The haulage trucks are in the business of carting of Manganese and Bauxite from the Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) Nsuta, and Ghana Bauxite Company (GBC), Awaso, on a daily basis, which has culminated in the rapid deterioration of the Tarkwa Agona-Nkwanta road.
For instance, from Ahwitieso, Nsuta to Bankyim, the road is in such a deplorable state, thanks to the haulage trucks.
On the other hand, careless driving, which is another negative behaviour of those behind the steering wheel of the trucks is very alarming. This has led to the road being highly considered as not safe anymore by other commercial vehicles drivers.
Recently, residents of Tarkwa Nsuta had to block the road and demonstrate, following the rampant killing of innocent lives by drivers behind the GMC heavy duty haulage trucks, and in the process burnt car tyres to demonstrate their anger.
To Nsuta residents, the demonstration was timely, because they could not sit unconcerned for drivers hauling manganese from the area to knock down their own all the time.
The unfortunate incident, which happened on Thursday, November 15, 20, at about 6:30pm, saw the irate residents gathered in the middle of the busy road in their numbers to protest against the incessant knockdowns of their members.
Clad in red and black bands on their heads and hands, the angry youth used the opportunity to block the road, registering their resentment against the bad state of roads in the area.
The demonstrators lamented that even though the roads in the area were in dilapidated states, despite several promises by governments to fix them, haulage and other mining trucks that ply them keep on knocking down and killing nearby residents.
They could not understand that the minerals were mined from their community to boost the country’s economy, yet they lagged behind in terms of development.
“The present state of the road network is an eyesore and does not befit Tarkwa Municipality, which is a mining town,” one of the demonstrators pointed out.
He asserted that the bad nature of the highway had increased travelling time from the Sefwi area, in the northern part of the region, to the capital, Sekondi-Takoradi.
For over four hours, the standoff on the Nsuta-Takoradi highway created heavy traffic, with plumes of smoke visibly billowing several kilometres away from where the demonstration was being held.
The Western File can also report an incident where one of a heavy duty haulage truck run into a drinking spot in Ahanta Aboade due to careless driving. No fatality was recorded, but property was destroyed.
Another haulage vehicle also crashed with a Kia truck in a separate accident, mangling the smaller vehicle in the process.
This file is reliably informed that the dangers – careless driving and over-speeding – are motivated by the number of times the manganese or bauxite consignments are carted, which rakes in more money for the vehicle owners.
The manganese and bauxite, which, hitherto, were hauled by rail, are now transported by road, through Tarkwa Agona Nkwnata, to the detriment to lives and properties.
Reacting to the accident on the Nsuta road leading to the blocking of the road by the residents, the Ghana Manganese Company Limited stated that the truck involved in the accident was a hired third-party haulage truck, with registration number WR 1016-17.
“Upon learning of the accident, senior management members called upon the relevant state agencies, and also dispatched the ambulance to help manage the situation,” the statement added.
A release from the company, signed by the Chief Operations Officer, Benjamin Atsu Quashie, indicated that the company did not know the cause of the accident, adding, “But we know that we lost a brother shortly after the accident.”
It continued: “Internal investigations have commenced to know the cause and to enable us take the appropriate steps to ensure that the right things are done, and to prevent future recurrences.”
The release added: “We urge calm, as a high-powered meeting has been planned with the leadership of the municipality and the police on the matter.”
For commercial drivers of ‘trotro’ and taxi drivers, competing for space on the Tarkwa Agona Nkwanta road is not only fearful, but dangerous.
One driver told this file at Tarkwa: “They (haulage trucks) look intimidating on the road. When they are behind you, the more intimidating they look. Even a mere tooting of their horns is intimidating.”
To another driver, he could not understand why a road built for the use of low tonnage vehicles could have heavy duty trucks hauling minerals on it.