The Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), in collaboration with the European Union (EU), has organised a one-day workshop in Kumasi to sensitise and educate stakeholders on the enforcement of the new axle load regulations.
The Ashanti Regional Highways Director, Joseph Atsu Amedazake, who presided over the workshop, told the participants that overloading of haulage vehicles was a contributing factor to the deterioration of roads in Ghana, a situation he described as worrisome.
He urged transporters and stakeholders to stay in the stipulated limit within which they operate to prolong the lifespan of our roads, since the government spent huge sums of money in repairing roads.
'Our behaviour on the roads costs a lot to government. Things are not going to be easy, if we don't enforce the new axle load rules and regulations in Ghana to install discipline on our roads, thereby extending the lifespan of roads in Ghana,' he noted.
He said the GHA new axle regulations, under road and traffic regulations 2012 (LI 2180), aims at extending the longevity of roads, thereby preventing overloading, and to do away with dangers to road users which will be operational in 2014.
Mr. Christopher Ackon, a representative of the European Union (EU), expressed disappointment at the rate some roads, the construction of which are financed by the EU in Ghana, deteriorate.
He pointed out that funds released by the EU for the construction of some roads in Ghana are EU tax payers' money, and therefore, the EU expects a longer lifespan of the roads.
Mr. Ackon urged stakeholders to abide by the new axle load regulations to increase the lifespan of roads in Ghana, and further assured the EU of the right usage of their funds.
Ing. Mrs. Mercy Payne, manager of axle load control of the GHA, a resource person at the workshop, said light cars make a relative small contribution to the structural damages of our roads. 'Damage on our roads is caused by the magnitude of this axle load. Overloading occurs when an axle of [a] truck carries load exceeding its permissible load limit [is] established,' she noted.
She lectured that overloading was the major cause of early road deterioration, citing the Takoradi-Agona stretch as a prime example.
Touching on the new axle regulations (LI 2180), Payne stated that a person shall not drive on a road, a motor vehicle or a combined motor vehicle with a trailer which has a net maximum weight of more than sixteen metric tonnes, and in the case of a non-articulated vehicle, a maximum gross weight on two axles, not more than eighteen metric tonnes, or the maximum weight on three axles of more than twenty-seven tonnes.
In a related development, Sebastian R. Freiku , also reports that the Minister of Roads and Highways has been called to take immediate steps to cause the repair of non-operational axle load machines on our highways without any delay.
The Ashanti Regional Surveyor of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Nana Ninsin-Imbeah II, who made the call, said axle load machines at Akatsi, Bolgatanga, Yapei, Tema Motorway and Boankra were not operational.
Nana Ninsin-Imbeah II, who is also the Acting Regional Chairman of the Ashanti GHA Senior Staff Association (SSA), bemoaned why the state should sit aloof and watch our roads go bad, only to go to donors and beg for assistance to rebuild them.
The GHA official also called on the Minister for Roads and Highways to institute immediate investigations into the reasons behind the non-functioning of the axle load station at Asokwa Junction in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region, which was built with state funds, but has never been operational five years after it had been installed.