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Climbing The Kwahu Mountain: A Mixed Feeling   
 
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18-Apr-2014  
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The huge intimidating stone forming the Kwahu Mountain that stares at you as you approach the township of Nkawkaw is enough to scare you to death as you head towards Kwahu.

And as the signpost welcomes you to the Kwahu ridge, the advice is equally scary – “climb with care.” Scary though that might sound, the taxi drivers that ply that road find nothing special about the road as they speed and overtake with careless abundance.

Then, the danger of climbing the scarp becomes even scarier as you approach a signpost warning: “Danger!, zigzag steep hill downward. Drive slowly” And at this point, all the vehicles climb at a snail’s pace, “except we the experienced ones,” a taxi driver told me when I started narrating the movement of vehicles there to a friend.
Serious concerns

But for me, the serious aspect of the road is a potential death trap in the event of a vehicle developing a mechanical fault resulting in the driver’s inability to control the direction of the vehicle. The sharp steep valley whose bottom cannot be seen from top is surely a potential threat. Equally worrying is the serious deteriorating nature of that part of the road.

The constructors of the road in their wisdom knew that such occurrences were part of activities on a road. That informed the decision to construct concrete balustrades - or call them rails - linked together with equally strong iron rods to apply a natural brake for a vehicle heading for disaster.

Over 10 years ago when I used that road, everything was normal and the drivers and their passengers felt a sense of protection in the event of the unexpected. But with time, these concrete pillars linking to another with the iron rods over the years have worn out to the extent that they are now pale shadows of themselves, leaving drivers and passengers to their fate in the event of any brake failure or burst tire that have the potential of directing the driver where to go, against his will.
Kwahu Easter

Thankfully, with all roads leading to Kwahu for the Easter, graders were seen last Friday filling all potholes and levelling the road, especially at the dangerous spots on the stretch, as a way of addressing the deteriorating nature of the road.

The question is, should every day be Easter to ensure that what should be done is done?
Scenery

However, all is not that scary climbing the ridge afterall. For instance, the scenery of the beautiful handiwork of God can be amazing, leaving you gaping at the beautiful designs by God.

The beauty of the spectacle cannot elude any first-timer to the area. Even the frequent traveller on that route still steals a glance at the huge stones which appear as though they have been beautifully carved, designed and arranged on top of one another.

Also amazing to behold is the zigzag movement of the vehicles. At a point, even though a vehicle may be ahead of you, the design of the road can deceive you into believing that you are first and no other vehicle is in front of you. Indeed, it is a marvellous work of God executed through the road engineers.
Special project

As I embarked on a special project to the Afram Plains last week, I got scared. I constantly imagined what could happen if the worst should occur. This was in spite of the fact that I was being chauffeured by a really experienced driver in my office, Mr Abaka a.k.a King Abaka.

I remember Nana Tibu, an elderly friend of mine who could take almost 30 minutes on the Tema Motorway, ignoring the tooting of horns behind him, since he made sure he was always in the outer lane. His reason was very simple – “Daadie nnim ne wura,” literally, Nana meant that vehicles do not know their owners. For a vehicle, irrespective of the number of years you have used it, you remain a stranger to it. It can behave or misbehave towards you at any time.

That is why those taxi drivers should be called to order (as they hurriedly climb and descend the scarp with the least respect for the safety of their passengers). They should be told that it is not all about experience, but the work of the hidden hand of God.
Officialdom

Indeed, I am just wondering if officialdom has not seen what I have seen or it is that they have the luxury of using the Agogo-Maame Krobo road to the Afram Plains and for that matter, they are not privy to the scenario I have been trying to paint. If that is the excuse, then they could be pardoned.

Whichever way it is, let the officials concerned be informed that Ghanaians are not prepared to wake up one day to the horrifying news that a vehicle has tumbled over the broken-down rails into the abyss because the balustrades could not prevent it from falling over.

The question is: Why should we have to wait for a disaster to occur before a solution is sought?

Our officials should be proactive and not wait until the disaster occurs before they start licking their wounds.

Where it is possible, let us be more preventive than curative, for, as we say: Prevention is better than cure. A word to the wise rests in the bosom of the Ghana Highways Authority.
 
 
Source: Severious Kale-Dery
 
 

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