17 January 2013

Ghana: GHA to Get Tough On Illegal Speed Ramps

Kumasi — Communities and individuals responsible for the arbitrary construction of speed ramps, commonly known as "bumping", would soon be made to face the full rigorous of the law.

Those responsible for such illegal acts, according to information available to The Chronicle, would soon be arrested and prosecuted in line with the law.

The Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), Inj. Sitsofe David Addo, told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview that the authority had taken the issue serious, considering the recent spate at which speed ramps were being constructed along the major highways in the region, and would soon move to tackle the situation.

Inj. Addo noted that the regional authority had been in consultation with the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, headed by the Regional Minister and the Regional Police Command, to discuss the mode of operation in getting the culprits arrested.

According to him, it was illegal for any individual or group of people to mount ramps on the major highways without approval from the authority.

There have been lots of concerns from the general public, particularly from drivers, concerning the number of speed ramps on some major roads within and outside Kumasi and its associated incidents of road accidents.

The recent incident occurred on the Kumasi-Bibiani road, where a tanker was said to have somersaulted after failing to climb one of the speed ramps mounted on the road, leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties worth thousands of cedis.

The GHA Regional Director explained that before speed ramps are constructed, the authority undertakes a number of feasibility studies, in collaboration with agencies such as the Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Police Service, to assess the impact on the road before being constructed.

He said currently, the authority had received about 79 applications from some communities requesting that speed ramps be mounted on their roads.

He, however, stressed that the authority cannot just accede to the request without carrying out an environmental assessment to find out if, indeed, it was necessary to embark on the construction.

Inj. Addo, therefore, indicated that it was worrying when some communities decide to take the law into their own hands and mount these speed ramps, a situation which, he said, had resulted in a number of road accidents.

He pointed out that under normal international road practice, it was not allowed for speed ramps to be constructed on roads, let alone do it arbitrarily.

"Ghana is the only country which entertains speed ramps; it is never done anywhere in the world, because the impact of such speed ramps on the economy and the general road transportation is often huge," he observed.

He noted that apart from the road accidents that could result from the mounting of the ramps, it also prolongs travelling time, retards response to emergency cases such as fire and ambulance services in the case of accidents.

The GHA boss, therefore, pointed out that the best alternative was to adopt the engineering strategy of constructing footbridges, mount traffics stop or pedestrian crossings, or furnish the police with speed guns to check over-speeding on major roads.

According to him, the policy would be effective with the introduction of spot fines, where drivers who exceed speed limits are arrested and made to pay.

This, according to him, could be effectively carried out when safety committees are set up in the various district assemblies, which would collaborate with the police administration in enforcing road regulations.

He added that the GHA was planning to embark on media sensitisation and education programmes to draw the attention of the various stakeholders, inducing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the police, transport owners, and the Road Safety Commission, which, he said, would focus on the safety and maintenance of the country's road networks.

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