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Opinions of Friday, 9 November 2018

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

Construct pedestrian bridges to save lives

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After many fatalities on the N1 Highway in Accra, we have learnt that three footbridges are being planned for the killer road.

This highway is competing shoulder to shoulder with the Adentan to Madina highway in terms of the number of persons losing their lives as they try to cross the very busy roads.

Too many lives are being lost needlessly in the country – the aforementioned roads adding to the already staggering statistics of road fatalities.

The invitation by the Speaker of Parliament to the Transport Minister to appear before the House to respond to queries regarding the accidents is just appropriate.

The past few weeks have been too scary for the traveling public as well as pedestrians.

It is as if there is nothing wrong with the occurrences which are wreaking challenges on families. Our individual homes make up the country and so when so many families are struck with accidents, some of them fatal, there is cause to be worried. We cannot afford to have many homes losing so many breadwinners and in some instances very young persons, approaching their prime.

It is more worrying when the accidents are avoidable or even as a result of some state appointees not doing their work properly.

It is ironic that highways which were constructed to ease the challenges of movements, the traffic logjams at substantial costs to the country and even donor countries, will become life takers.

It is also unacceptable that such high speed roads would be denied pedestrian bridges during the conceptualizing stage of the projects: considering such critical features only when so many lives have been lost, is an unpardonable afterthought.

Policymakers and engineers who designed and executed the projects must be held accountable for the blood that is being spilled so many years after champagnes were opened to commission the projects.

Some omissions do not make sense. The case of the two highways alluded to is one. While we find the announcement about the construction of footbridges for pedestrians heartwarming, it is our hope and prayer that this is not going to be a pipedream. We want to see actual work commencing in the shortest possible time so that lives would be protected.

As for the Adentan highway, we have not heard about any plans to stop the needless deaths being recorded on the road.

A few days ago, a lady died when she was crossing the road in the company of her boyfriend. It was a disturbing development more so since countless calls have been made to the relevant authorities to act; all to no avail.

It was not surprising when youth in the area impeded vehicular movement to register their protest over the rampant deaths.

We do not know how many lives must be lost before the necessary intervention is triggered.

Turning to our inter-city roads, the accidents have resumed in recent times after a long lull. We must hold a national conversation on the issue of deaths on our highways because it is on the rise and avoidable if we take certain measures such as restricting the operation of commercial vehicles to a certain age bracket and minimum education among other conditions. Some drivers are just reckless and unfit to drive.

Our country should not gain notoriety for its many avoidable road fatalities.

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