Is Greater Kumasi becoming a big village?
The old adage that ‘Little things are not Little’ could not be appreciated by stakeholders who are mandated to ensure safety on the roads of Greater Kumasi, as driving in the Ashanti Regional capita is increasingly becoming a nightmare, following growing irregularities such as non-functioning streetlights, malfunctioned traffic lights, faded road signs and markings.
Data by the National Road and Safety Authority show that Ashanti is the leading region in road accidents could have its own symbolism.
Observations by The Chronicle over the years have revealed that transportation in Greater Kumasi is becoming hectic with each passing day, following the above-mentioned challenges, which stakeholders somewhat do not appreciate tackling head on.
Vehicular traffic builds up at various intersections in Greater Kumasi, due to malfunctioning of most traffic lights. As we meander to the Yuletide, the traffic build-up in Kumasi could become more hectic..
Some traffic lights in the Central Business District (CBD) have been down for almost four years without any seeming intention to have them fixed. Prime examples of these places are the defunct Pick and Pay joint, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and Prudential Bank area.
The latest to join these white elephant traffic lights craze are the A-Life traffic lights, which regulate about eight routes, including those from Accra, Adum, Abenkyi and the KMA.
On a working visit to the A-Life traffic intersection, The Chronicle observed a malfunctioning traffic light with wires and other electrical components exposed.
Also, traffic lights at the busy Anloga junction were out of order, compelling road users to use their ingenuity to meander their way to their destinations.
At the Ridge traffic light, drivers sometimes have to bulldoze their way through because the lights are not bright enough.
This traffic lights challenge is so serious that it has been recorded in municipal areas such as Suame Maakro and Obuasi.
In the face of the challenge is the fading of road markings, which play a pivotal role in guiding drivers at night and during the rainy season. It is instructive to state that as much as the re-asphalting of the inner city roads of Greater Kumasi is underway, quite a few others have benefited markings.
The snag with the malfunctioning street lights challenge is that street cameras mounted at intersections cannot work properly at night, because entire stretches are plunged into stark darkness.
Streets in areas such as Asokwa-LLL, Danyame, Mbrom, Krofrom-Abrepo Ring Road, Central Market, Asafo Neoplan, Anloga Junction-Tech, and Ridge-Adum among others have become a driving nightmare to motorists.
In Kumasi, many are the stretches which are bereft of road signs, or have them defaced with posters.
Speaking with an Uber driver on condition of anonymity, he expressed worries at the malfunctioning traffic lights.
According to him, anytime he reaches a traffic light, he exercises extreme caution, because he does not trust them, adding that he has used his thinking to find his way through.
On streetlight and road markings, the young driver expressed shock at the development.
He noted that the road was in darkened at night while the markings had also faded, asking how does one get to notice a zebra crossing?
He called on the city authorities to take issues relating to the safety of road users seriously, because the dangers on the roads were real.
In an interaction with another driver, who gave his name as Yaw, he expressed worries about the traffic lights challenge, and malfunctioning streetlights.
According to him, he was not surprised that the region was leading road accident, because the authorities do not give attention to the little things which could cost it dearly.
The worried private vehicle driver told this reporter that the authorities must not take the people for granted, and that they ought to do their work diligently, bemoaning how the principal streets in Kumasi were thrown into darkness at night.
Reached on phone, the Ashanti Regional Director of Urban Roads, Mr. Francis Gambra, explained to The Chronicle that the traffic lights challenge had come to the attention of the Urban Roads.
According to Gambra, the A-Life area traffic lights were designed to function collectively, so when there was a problem with one it affected all the others, and that their attention had been drawn to the present problem.
He added that his outfit had also taken notice of the street lights at the KMA area, and all those which were malfunctioning.
Francis Gambra admitted that these lights were not reliable because whenever they were repaired they go off again not long after.
Gambra disclosed that these traffic lights were over fifteen years old, and that when it comes to such electronic gadgets, the replacement of their components becomes a challenge.
He said: “The whole issue is that these are outdated controllers, and we will need to replace them, so there is a programme to replace all the outdated traffic lights, which has commenced.”
Gambra continued that it was going to be done by Facol Roads Limited, adding that when the contract is awarded, the replacement of these lights would be done within a short period of time.
When pressed about how soon the traffic lights challenges would be addressed, the Ashanti Regional Urban Road Director responded that they had done the feasibility studies, and the execution of the programme would be next year.
He told this reporter that they were bringing on new controllers to be fixed at twenty intersections, including the one at the KMA and other places.
He added: “The good thing is that we are even moving to a point where we will control all the traffic lights from one control centre, so that we can dynamically monitor the flow of traffic.”
On road markings, Francis Gambra explained that some had faded and had been repainted.
According to him, the markings would be done after the asphalt work has been done.
He noted that the Anloga-Labour stretch had been awarded on contract for asphalt repairs, and that was why there was a delay, adding that some contractors who had been awarded road marking were yet to mobilise logistics to begin.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest