By Bernice Bessey
The footbridge under construction on the Lapaz-Malam highway, which is expected to make road crossing safe for pedestrians, has no consideration for people with disabilities.
An observation by the Accra File revealed that the footbridge is not disability friendly, since the contractor has not put in place a facility for people with disabilities to have access to its use.
Meanwhile, the persons with disability Act, 2006 clause 23, states that “The ministries responsible for rail, air and road transport, and where appropriate, the Minister of Local Government shall ensure that the needs of persons with disability are taken into account in the design, construction and operation of the transportation network.”
In taking into account the requirement of this act and other acts on transportation, it means road designers and contractors are not conforming to the recommendations of the constitution, which is the highest law of the land.
In the whole of the capital city Accra, the only footbridge which was constructed with the disabled in mind is that of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which has facilities for the disabled, unlike some others such as that of Kaneshie, Nima and Avenor.
This, however, has compelled persons with disability and their associates to cross streets at the risk of their lives.
The Lapaz-Malam motorway extension is one the busiest roads in Accra, and after construction, would be more risky and dangerous to pedestrians who will attempt to cross the road without using the overhead footbridge.
Every year, many lives are lost to road accidents, with vehicles knocking pedestrians down, sometimes with fatalities, especially, on highways like the Ofankor-Pokuase and Mallam-Kasoa roads, due to lack of road markings, zebra crossing, malfunctioning traffic lights and the absence of overhead footbridges.
Although, the footbridges at the Avenor junction and Nima are being patronised, some people prefer to jump railings/fencing which have been used to separate the road lanes.
As the laws of the land demand on the people to perform certain duties and obligations to the state, people with disables are not exempted, it therefore is the right of the disabled to be considered whenever the state undertakes any projects.