Dangme West Condoning Illegal Ramps?
Dodowa -- THE RANDOM emergence of numerous illegal speed ramps in recent months along some highways in the Dangme West District is of great concern to road users and the general public alike.
Even more stunning is the fact that some of these heaps of cement blocks, asbestos pipes, gravels, boulders and sacks of sand that the natives of the concerned towns call ramps are as close as 50 metres away from the offices of the Chief Executive of the assembly; and yet all in the district who ought to have cared most appear to have adopted the ostrich attitude of "seeing no evil" and thereby throwing the Vice-President's crusade against indiscipline into the dustbin
. Equally irritating is that these ridges are mounted just 20 metres apart and may stretch through the entire road that passes through the town or village, or as desired by the local people or the assemblyman.
Travellers who first hinted the Chronicle of this trend narrated that they first smelt rat when some three months ago as many as 10 such ramps were mounted at Agormeda along the main highway that passes through the town towards Somanya.
Upon verification Chronicle noticed that not long after that, another six sprang up along the same highway at Ayikuma, a sister town.
And as if all these were not enough, the "ramp fashion" had been extended to no other town than Dodowa, the district capital, where four such illegal ones had been added to the existing three temporary ones.
A Unit Committee member at Agormeda who wanted to be anonymous said the decision to go their own way was originated by the incessant hit and run behaviour of drivers. The source claimed that in most cases school children are the victims.
At Ayikuma, a native intimated that they would not have gone that far if the authorities had heeded their calls for action to check over-speeding on the road.
Even though Hon. T. K. Agban, (the DCE), was not readily available for explanation, several assembly vehicles were spotted going over the illegal ramps as if they were the best under the circumstances.
Sadly however, a check at the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) offices indicated that despite letters dispatched to the District Assembly asking them to wait for the proper thing to be done, they went ahead and did what they liked.
According to the Regional Maintenance Engineer (Highway), Mr. Philip Samwini, ramps are not the only means of checking over-speeding. He elaborated that apart from the speed limits on the road signs which acts as guide to drivers, pedestrian movements can also be curtailed either by the erection of guard rails as in Kaneshie or overhead bridges.
Mr. Samwini stressed that to the best of his knowledge and profession, ramps are not the best on a highway and that his outfit's position on the matter has been made clear to the DCE.
At the GHA headquarters, the Director of Road Safety and Environment Division, Mr. Asafo-Adjei, stated that all those who cause damage to any road facility can be arrested and prosecuted in court.
Asafo-Adjei said GHA had written to the district asking them to be patient as efforts are underway to do the proper thing when a second layer of bitumen is to be laid soon; and lamented that if the assembly had funds of its own and would not be patient why didn't it give the money to the GHA to design the right thing for them, instead of allowing assemblymen to take the law into their own hands.
While it is not clear what penal action will be taken against the district for flouting government orders, the layman's comparison in town is that if every village along the Accra-Kumasi road is to be mount their own ramps to check over-speeding, road users may take weeks to do the journey to Kumasi.
Others also fear that these may rather cause serious accidents and do more harm than good as there are indications that other towns and villages along that highway will surely follow suit.