Some residents of Suhum in the Eastern Region last Wednesday protested against attempts by the Ministry of Roads and Highways to inaugurate the Suhum overpass on the main Accra-Kumasi Highway.
According to the agitated residents, there were no safety measures on the newly constructed overpass to protect life and property in the area.
As a result, the sector minister, Mr Akwasi Amoako-Atta, had to postpone the inauguration exercise to enable the ministry to fix the challenges.
He, therefore, directed the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) to ensure the completion of all safety audits on the road within a period of two weeks.
The minister took the decision to call off the inauguration exercise after a brief consultation with some staff of the ministry, including the Chief Executive Officer of the GHA, directors of the Department of Urban Roads and Feeder Roads.
“We have assessed the road critically and we have come to the conclusion that we need to put in place other things to ensure total and maximum safety. We do not want to rush and inaugrate it once our attention has been drawn to some lapses. We do not want to experience any fatalities and accidents after inaugurating it,” Mr Amoako-Atta explained.
The team had earlier visited Kumasi in the Ashanti Region to inspect ongoing and completed road projects.
Present at the Suhum project site were the Suhum Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Madam Margaret Mensah, the Municipal Police Commander, the contractors and engineers.
The minister gave an assurance that the necessary measures would be put in place to ensure the safety of both motorists and pedestrians before the project would eventually be inaugurated.
“I have asked the engineers and contractors to put in place all the necessary safety measures to ensure maximum and optimum safety of residents. From the technical point of view, everything is set, but there is no need to rush in inaugurating it because there are schools ahead and we do not want to put the lives of the pupils who cross the road at risk. For this reason, we want to put in place all the necessary safety measures to avoid any possible disasters,” he added.
Mr Amoako-Atta expressed his appreciation to the contractors and engineers for the extent of work done so far.
The Chief Executive of the GHA, Mr Victor Owusu, also pledged that all necessary safety works on the road, including the provision of signages, would be provided within the two-week period.
Some of the protestors expressed satisfaction with the decision by the minister.
According to them, it will be prudent for the GHA to provide adequate road signages, including Zebra Crossings, speed calming devices such as speed tables or humps and footbridges to reduce pedestrian knockdowns when the overpass is finally opened to traffic.
The main arterial, including the Suhum section of the road, has six lanes and a shoulder in addition to a median, making pedestrian crossing rather dangerous without adequate road signage and speed calming devices.
The project was part of the dualisation of the Accra-Kumasi Highway which started in 2008 but stalled largely due to lack of funds. The wholly funded Government of Ghana project was also part of four road projects initiated that year. The three others were the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina-Pantang and Achimota–Ofankor both in the Greater Accra Region and Sofoline in the Ashanti Region.
Currently, the north bound lane of the project has been substantially completed and taken over by the GHA awaiting the one-year defect liability period while work is ongoing on the south bound lane.
Source: Daily Graphic
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