The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), with support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), has given the green light for the commencement of road safety enhancement works at the Lapaz intersection of the George Walker Bush Highway.
The enhancement works include increasing the pedestrian signal timing (crossing times)to increase the number of pedestrians crossing the entire 14 lanes without waiting in the middle and prevent pedestrians from disobeying the signal, as well as lowering of kerbs where pedestrians cross the roads to ensure unimpeded and safe pedestrian flow including the physically disabled.
The safety works will also see the remarking of crossings and other pavement markings (pedestrian crossing, strips, centre line marking etc.) to ensure general safety at the junction, and encourage pedestrians to cross at designated crossing locations.
The project, which is expected to be completed within one month, forms part of ongoing efforts by the AMA and its stakeholders to reduce pedestrian fatalities in the Accra Metropolitan Area.
In an address at a ceremony on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, to commence the enhancement works, Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, noted that the project had become necessary due to statistics showing that the Lapaz intersection had the highest record of road crashes in the whole of Accra.
Mr Sowah said the project, which was part of the Pedestrian Action Plan launched by the Assembly in December last year, would also ensure easy mobility of pedestrians on that road.
He disclosed that safety inspections carried out by the AMA-BIGRS team reviewed six high-frequency crash locations, including the La Paz intersection, on the George Walker Bush Highway, which is also known as the Mallam-Tetteh Quashie Highway.
He said the first AMA Road Safety Report, which analysed data from 2011 to 2015, indicated that 70℅ of road fatalities recorded in the Metropolis occurred on the N1 road, representing 16% of all fatalities.
Mr Sowah said the inspection report, therefore, proposed a number of safety interventions to enhance pedestrian safety, in view of the high pedestrian volume within the intersection catchment area.
"It is the Assembly's vision, to enhance urban mobility since it is key to the life of the city, we also want to ensure that people are able to move freely to their work places, houses and various destinations. This will help promote socio-economic development within the city," he said.
He, therefore, tasked the newly-created Okaikoi Municipal Assembly to ensure that the intersection was free from hawking and any kind of trading activities in order to eliminate all hindrances posed to pedestrians on the road.
Mr Sowah gave the assurance that the AMA would continue to work with the Bloomberg Philanthropies, National Road Safety Commission, road agencies and all other partners under the initiative to deploy proven solutions to save lives and improve environments where people lived, worked and played.
In a statement, Madam Sylviane Ratte, Deputy Director, Global Road Safety Initiative, Vital Strategies, said the AMA-BIGRS Lapaz intervention formed part of a five-year initiative supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies made up of four components--safer streets and mobility, enforcement, strategic communication and surveillance.
She expressed gratitude to the AMA and all stakeholders involved in the initiative for their commitment. On his part, Mr Charles Oduro Kwarteng, a representative from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) disclosed that the AMA-BIGRS initiative had contributed to the reduction of child fatality from 23% to 19%, citing records from the NRSC.
Mr Kwarteng pledged the Commission's continued support for an intensified road safety campaign with a focus on pedestrian safety, safe crossing points and respect for traffic signals.
Mr Nicholas Brown, Project Engineer, said his team had carried out an intensive inspection of the area and that the solutions identified would help reduce the fatalities.