24 May 2019

Ghana: Danger Looms At Kwame Nkrumah Interchange ... As Illegal Bus Terminals Spring Up Close to Rail Track

The siting of unauthorised bus terminals close to the railway track at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, in Accra, is posing danger to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Additionally, noise from loud speakers mounted at the terminals impedes hearing of the request for drivers to stop vehicles and pedestrians to give way for passing trains.

The Accra Area Engineer of the Ghana Railway Company (GRC), Mr Zaphaneath Akuffo, raised the concern when the Ghanaian Times contacted him on Tuesday on why the company was looking unconcerned and allowing illegal structures to be erected close to the rail track.

The GRC's regulations which read in part: That structures along the rail line should be 50 metres away to avoid any harm to human lives', but the story is the opposite at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange.

Traders now sell various items and park their wares very close to the rail line, posing danger in case of train derailment.

School children and pedestrians also put themselves at risk as they sometimes walk on the main rail line.

Mr Akuffo was particularly concerned about the siting of the O&A Travel Bus station and the Intercity STC Bus terminal currently under construction as well as a mosque which he said, posed danger to people using the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange rail crossing area since the train could accidentally run over any of them.

He expressed regret that some commercial (trotro) drivers had turned the Neoplan Station bus stop around Mantrac, into a lorry park where they go to the extent of parking on the rail track to load passengers.

Asked what he has done about the situation as an engineer, Mr Akuffo said, a complaint was lodged with the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) about the encroachment by the Intercity STC, O&A and the Mosque but they were yet to get a feedback.

As part of efforts to rid the area of any obstacles, the railway police and task force patrol the area daily and demolish makeshift structures and also ward off squatters from interfering with the movement of the train.

The exercise, according to him, was also to prevent scrap scavengers from stealing pieces of the metals to sell to scrap dealers.

"We don't want to see a situation of a train accident before we begin to act," he said.

Asked what his outfit would do to the permanent structures being constructed, he said, "Technically they are not supposed to be there in the first place, even if they had the permit."

The Accra Area Engineer of the GRC, said, human interference was affecting the track where at some point in time "you see the train is suppose to be moving forward, rather at some point, it would be moving backward as we have witnessed recently when the train started receding at Airport last Tuesday, May 14".

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