Regional News of Monday, 26 November 2012

Source: Augustus Addae-Mensah

Takoradi Market Circle - A Death Trap

The recent Melcom disaster in Accra, which drove the country into tears, must serve as a lesson to all and force us to take a close look at a lot of our structures in the country.

I happened to be at the Takoradi Market Circle on November 13, 2012.

I had the shock of my life as I observed the dilapidated parts of the Market Circle structure.

I looked at the deteriorating structure with the eye of a civil engineer, being one myself-trained in one of the top class technical universities of the world-with a wide experience as a Professor of Civil Engineering and a practicing engineer in Europe and in Ghana.

I got into a shock when I saw the extent of the damage on the first floor of the Market Circle structure just opposite the A.A.A. Mensah Pharmacy Shop in Takoradi, where buyers and sellers were moving around comfortably without thinking of the imminent danger.

When I got there, I coincidentally met a TV-Africa team which was also examining the deterioration.

I believe that the architects and engineers applied the correct Water-Cement-Sand ratios with the appropriate reinforcement in accordance with the building regulations.

I also believe that they took into consideration the hazardous climatic conditions which normally prevail in a coastal tropical environment like ours.

Takoradi is one of the areas in Ghana with the highest Relative Humidity, about 80 per cent to 90 per cent. I believe that all these factors were considered as well as the heavy human traffic on the structure.

What I think has gone wrong here is the lack of maintenance and lack of regular inspection of our structures. I observed that with the salt saturated atmosphere, moisture had diffused profusely into the reinforced concrete structure.

The reinforcing iron rods were very rusty and protruding. There were cracks all over; the concrete material was peeling out. The whole structure is frightening and looks like a death trap.

My urgent appeal to the city engineers is to recommend an immediate closure of certain portions of the structure for immediate rehabilitation and repair works.

Furthermore, I will recommend to the S.T.M.A. to seriously look at other abandoned buildings in the metropolis.

A typical one is the one time Bank of West Africa building at the former prestigious European Town in Sekondi.

Also, on the one time popular Beach Road, there are a number of dilapidated private buildings which either need to be pulled down or rehabilitated. The authorities of the metropolis should wake up and look at our pot-holes, street lighting, etc.

A proper face-lift of the metropolis is long overdue.

Augusutus Addae-Mensah (Prof. Dr-Ing. Depl-Ing. VDI-Munich)