Kindly permit me to use your medium, which undoubtedly has a far-reaching target audience, to notify the Minister for Roads and Highways (Amoako Attah) of the potential road menace that is brewing and will manifest sooner or later if it is not properly addressed.
First and foremost, the much-touted Pokuase interchange project is expected to be opened to the general public in the first week of July 2021. Let me take this opportunity to thank the present government as well as previous government for making it one of the essential road projects and attending to the cry of the people of Accra-Nsawam; Awoshie-Pokuase; Pokuase-Kwabenya-Ritz Junction Road and its environs.
Indeed, when the news broke that the interchange was going to be constructed at a cost of US$94.8million and funded by the African Development Bank and government of Ghana, it was received with great joy – considering the unbearable traffic communities around Pokuase and commuters to Kumasi and beyond had to go through on a daily basis.
In fact, the stretch of that road is a major road (N6) in Ghana connecting Accra. The road is made up of roads with different tiers as follows: The Accra-Kumasi Highway has four lanes, two each on the main carriageway form the first tier. Traffic movement from Nsawam toward Kwabenya and Awoshie and from Accra toward Awoshie and Kwabenya form the second tier. The third-tier controls traffic movement from Kwabenya to Accra and Nsawam, and from Awoshie to Nsawam and Accra. The fourth tier is designed to move vehicular traffic from Awoshie to Kwabenya and vice versa. The Awoshie-Pokuase Interchange is being executed under the Accra Urban Transport Project and is supervised by the Department of Urban Roads.
Top view design of Pokuase Interchange – Accra Urban Transport Project
Five lanes converge to only two lanes
Respectfully Honourable, I am not an engineer and I don’t intend to be one – and hence might not be able to display any academic prowess in the field of engineering. However, a layman’s observation would be able reveal the pathetic nature of engineering work carried out on the Ofankor stretch to the main Pokuase township and to Nsawam.
It is regrettable to note that five lanes converge to 2 lanes just at ‘Light Out’ junction. This junction is the cause of terrible traffic, and it can cause approximately 45minutes of delay during rush hours. Just about half-a-kilometre after this Junction is a bus stop for ‘Trotro drivers’ to park so that passengers are able to board and alight from their vehicles.
Painfully enough, there is a sharp ‘U-turn’ for commuters from Ofankor connecting with the main stretch to Accra. This also holds the traffic from commuters from Accra to Kumasi. I am not sure I am using the appropriate diction or technical terminologies to describe the situation and the mess it creates in the morning, but it is just an eyesore.
Pictorial view of the Design at Light Out Junction
So, the question a lot of people (including myself) are asking is: how can right-thinking engineers reduce five lanes to a double lane; where smaller cars are competing with such big articulated trucks in rush hours coupled with the unwanted U-turn situated at the junction? I may be wrong, but I honestly think this is a planning gap. It would be much appreciated if the structural engineers take a second look at that design. Since taxpayers may be disadvantaged and repay the loan in years to come, it is equally important to ensure our road networks receive the needed attention to meet the needs of future citizenry as best as possible.
As the president of our republic encourages Ghanaians to be citizens and not spectators, I would appreciate it if your good office engages the structural engineer (Associated Consultants Limited) and the contractor, Zhogmei Engineering Group Ltd. of China, to reconsider the design and make necessary adjustments to bring relief to the good people of Ghana.
I would like to recommend that the U-turn be temporally closed during rush hours from 5:00am to 10:00am, and divert the traffic flow to the Kwabenya stretch to descend onto the interchange to Accra. Alternatively, I highly recommend the U-turn be closed permanently to allow ease of traffic. This would move the bottleneck away from the hot-spot.
I hope my request will be given the needed attention to enable the entire project to serve its intended purpose. Thank you.
May God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.
Credit: Miriam Amoako, Joseph Ofori-Teiko
The writer is a Finance and Investment professional, managing local and global Investors, Intermediaries, Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institution relationships with an International Bank in Ghana. Contact: [email protected], Cell: +233-204811911