Ghana: Interchanges Alone Can't Ease Traffic Congestion

25 November 2020

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday inaugurated the phase one of the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange project, in Accra.

Using its location as a point of reference, the interchange connects four important roads in the capital city.

These roads are from the interchange to: Korle Bu Teaching Hospital through Abossey Okai; Accra Central using the Graphic Road; Circle and beyond; and Kasoa through Odorkor, Sakaman and Weija.

These are roads on which drivers and commuters suffer traffic jams or gridlocks.

It is normal that as the population in urban centres grow and some people also become economically better off, they would buy their own cars to have their comfort rather than joining the trotros and other vehicle used as public transport.

In Ghana, more people keep buying vehicles for commercial transport business because of the high demand for private commercial transport due to the lack of efficient and reliable state commercial transport, including trains.

The situation, especially the absence of the railway system, and the state transport, forces everyone to use the road, hence traffic jams and the gridlocks we experience daily on highways and other major roads, especially in the cities and other big towns.

While inaugurating the interchange yesterday, President Akufo-Addo expressed the hope that it would help ease traffic, especially on the Kaneshie-Mallam stretch of the Accra-Kasoa road.

The President said he had asked the Ministry of Roads and Highways to plan for easing the congestion on the Kaneshie-Mallam stretch, factoring into its plan the creation of a bus rapid route, apparently for use by state buses.

The Ghanaian Times is happy that President Akufo-Addo and his administration is constructing five interchanges simultaneously across the country, all to ease traffic congestion.

The Nungua, Pokuase, Obetsebi, Takoradi and Tamale interchanges were mentioned as those in reference.

We are also excited that his government has plans to dualise some major roads.

In that regard, the Ghanaian Times supports the plan, but also suggests that in the event of any dualisation of highways, it should first be on the ECOWAS Highway from Aflao to Elubo through Accra, and from Accra through Kumasi towards Sunyani and northern Ghana.

This is because traffic congestion now occurs at places once unexpected to suffer gridlocks. We wish to draw attention of the authorities to traffic congestion from Tema to Dawa on the Aflao stretch and Mankessim on the Accra-Cape Coast road, for instance.

It must be noted that interchanges and dualisation of roads alone would not solve traffic jams in the country. Currently, the experience is that after the interchanges have "eased the jam", the vehicles pile up a few metres or just a kilometer away from them.

The Circle to Mallam through Kaneshie and Kasoa to Gomoa Budumburam are classical examples.

This means we need other roads or routes to ease the jams. If so, the government should plan for constructing such roads in cities and detours that would make drivers to have a choice rather than being forced to use a particular route.

Consequently, the Ghanaian Times would like to remind all and sundry that interchanges are monuments and aesthetic pieces that beautify their locations.

The experience in the country is that people take over interchanges for use as market centres and places of abode.

The Ghanaian Times therefore wishes to appeal to the city authorities and, for that matter, the government to ward off traders and miscreants who would attempt to use the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange as their abode.

And we must be strict about this so that we can extend the crusade to other interchanges across the country.

More From: Ghanaian Times

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