Editorial: Dealing with traffic congestion in Accra: Our humble suggestion to Urban Roads (II)
Last week Friday January 8, 2021, we used this column make a few suggestions to the Department of the Urban Roads about to the way to deal with ever-growing traffic congestion palaver in Accra. Though we commended the Department about the way it is handling the situation, especially the various bypasses it has constructed on the Adenta barrier-Dodowa Highway, we thought there was still room for improvement.
We subsequently suggested the need to construct similar bypasses or link roads on the Accra- Kasoa road to ease traffic congestion at Mallam junction. In the said editorial we are referencing, we advised that a new road must be constructed from the Kasoa main road to Dansoman, a city within the city of Accra. A similar road, we went on, must also be constructed to link Sowutuom, also a suburb of Accra.
The construction of the two roads may not bring to an end the horrible traffic situation on the road, but, in our view, it will help to ameliorate the current terrible situation. When bypasses are constructed, drivers have the option of either using the main road or the bypass. This will help to end the productive hours wasted in traffic by Ghanaians, which eventually leads to the contraction of the national economy.
Whilst we trust that Urban Roads will listen to our advice though we admit that we are not technical men, we do not also think the construction of the bypass roads alone will solve the problem. Intersections on most of Accra roads are also contributing to the traffic mess.
The only way, in our view, to deal with particular problem is the construction of interchanges. The Tetteh Quashie-Mallam-junction road is one of the well-constructed roads in the country. One should not have, therefore, expected traffic jams on the corridor, but that is exactly what is happening now.
The Chronicle recalls a statement made by Mr Esson Benjamin, then head of the Millennium Challenge Authority, immediately the road was opened to traffic, that his outfit ought to have constructed as many as six interchanges on the corridor. He mentioned some of the places for the construction of these interchanges as the Fiesta Royale traffic intersection, and Lapaz, Santa Maria and Awoshie junctions.
Unfortunately, Esson Benjamin continued there were no resources to execute these projects. He, therefore, suggested to the government of Ghana to source for the funds to construct the interchanges to ensure easy vehicular movement on the corridor.
The George Walker Bush Highway, as the road is called, was opened to traffic on February 15, 2012 by President John Atta Mills of blessed memory and former President Kufuor.
Eight solid years down the line, no single interchange has been constructed, as suggested by Esson Benjamin. Apart from the George Walker Bush Highway, there are dozens of intersections in Accra that should also have interchanges to help ease traffic. Road construction and interchanges are heavy capital investments, and with our status as a developing economy, The Chronicle admits that this cannot be achieved overnight.
We, however, think if conscious efforts are made to strategically tackle the problem, we, as a country, can deal with the situation in a few years to come. Luckily, President Akufo-Addo has assured the nation that his administration will, this year, tackle road construction with all the seriousness it deserves.
It is the hope of The Chronicle that enough resources will be allocated to the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the construction of these badly needed interchanges.
As we have already indicated, traffic jams slow down productivity, and as a developing country, it will be very dangerous for us to see the development as a normal one and must be treated as such. We will be laughing at the wrong side of our mouths if we allow this mentality to gain roots – this is why Urban Roads must be resourced to effectively handle the situation.