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04.03.2012 General News

Pedestrians Refuse Use Of Overhead Bridges

By Kofi Yeboah - Daily Graphic
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A large number of pedestrians are putting their lives in danger on the newly inaugurated Motorway Extension from the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange to the Mallam Interchange by not using the six footbridges provided to cross the highway from one side to the other.

Instead, they prefer to walk or run across the 14.1-kilometre, three-lane, high-speed dual carriageway and jump over the inner rail guard.

During the official inauguration of the highway Wednesday, the Daily Graphic observed a large number of pedestrians crossing at any point of the highway and, in some instances, very close to the footbridges.

Schoolchildren, as well as young and elderly people, all walked or ran across the highway and jumped over the inner rail guard, while saloon cars, buses and articulated trucks zoomed past on the highway.

All the six footbridges were deserted, except the one near the Nyamekye Junction, on which some pedestrians were strolling at the time the Daily Graphic team inspected the magnificent infrastructure.

At the Abeka Lapaz Junction, the siting of lorry stations nearby made the situation quite chaotic, with pedestrians crossing the highway anywhere, compelling some drivers to slow down and hampering the otherwise smooth and free flow of traffic in the process.

According to some of the pedestrians, the footbridges were too far apart, making it difficult for them to access the facilities.

Long before the inauguration of the highway, there had been reports of deaths on it, as speeding vehicles knocked down some pedestrians attempting to cross it.

There are many densely populated communities along the Motorway Extension and, on a daily basis, thousands of people commute on or across the highway.

At Wednesday'’s inauguration, many of the pedestrians did not seem to be bothered by the danger posed to their lives because they were caught up in a web of excitement as they savoured the beauty of the road.

The display of Ghana and US flags along the highway at Apenkwa made the beautiful infrastructure even more sparkling.

In 2007, Ghana, secured $547 million from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a pro-poor initiative by the US government, to help combat poverty in developing countries.

The reconstruction of the Motorway Extension from a single-lane, urban highway to a three-lane dual carriageway at a cost of $165.2 million is the flagship of all the MCA projects and is expected to ease the transportation of goods from the western corridor to the Tema Port and the Kotoka International Airport.

Although the project was funded by the US government, the inauguration of the highway marked the staking of claims by various political interest groups as the architects of the project.

Hawkers along the highway were certainly excited by the project but they did not hide their disappointment at the fact that the free flowing traffic would adversely affect their business.

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