Regional News of Thursday, 20 September 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Achimota-Ofankor road claims five lives

Five people have lost their lives over the last two months on the yet-to-be-completed Achimota Ofankor Highway. The five were knocked down by vehicles while attempting to scale the short retaining walls to cross from one section of the road to the other side. All five accidents, according to the Resident Engineer working on the Achimota-Ofankor Highway, Mr Shelter Lotsu, occurred right under the footbridge at Dome, a situation he described as unfortunate.

There are four footbridges on the Achimota-Ofankor corridor, and according to Mr Lotsu, those footbridges were strategically located at places with high population density and bus stops for easy access but, unfortunately, people had decided to scale the retaining walls instead.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic during a visit to the site, Mr Lotsu stated that drivers operating at the taxi rank at Dome, alarmed by the increasing number of accidents, had formed a task force to compel pedestrians to use the footbridges.

Obviously, the task force cannot meet the challenges on the road, as a group of people, including women, were spotted scaling the short retaining wall right under the Dome footbridge to cross the six-lane road yesterday.

The situation on the corridor is not an isolated one.

Indeed, a few weeks after the completion and subsequent handover of the George Walker Bush Highway stretching from the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange to the MaIlam Junction, a number of people who attempted to scale barricades separating the main carriageway from the service roads were knocked down.

Statistics from the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service indicate that from February 15 to August 31, this year there have been 253 crashes involving 447 vehicles on the George Bush Highway.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr Alexander Obeng, who gave the figures, stated that 70 pedestrians were knocked down on the George Bush Highway during the period.

"So far, 182 people have been injured and 35 have died," he stated.

Aside from the risk that pedestrians are exposed to, another ugly but common phenomenon on the Achimota-Ofankor Highway is the complete take-over of the walkways and bicycle lanes by traders.

Traders turned the walkways and lanes into markets even before the paving works were completed, the area around the footbridges has equally been besieged by traders, limiting access to the facilities by pedestrians who lay be willing to use it.

The 5.2-kilometre, three-lane Achimota-Ofankor dual carriageway with service roads and footbridges and overpasses is substantially completed.