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26.12.2016 Feature Article

The Conpcepts Of "Interchanges" As Insfrastucture

The Conpcepts Of
LISTEN DEC 26, 2016

...the best would have been having a motorway that stretches from Tetteh Quashie 'roundabout' to Togo, at least, that road would have been ECOWAS motorway with interchanges and its rightful tollbooth position, after Tema roundabout, to foster fluid circulation of vehicles. The act of billing vehicle owners in Ghana for using bridges dates back in the past but it is act of mediocrety and the Tema motorway is too small in length to be paid before using it. For some of us who live abroad, once we pay for full blown motorway, we automatically pay for the bridge/s, and tunnels that come with it and if we don't have to pay for any road, we have to pay for the bridges/tunnel that comes with it

When we talk of interchange, of course, as it were, in its definition; giving one thing for another, in terms of infrastructure, interchange is a central station in the heart of the city where there is several transportation connections

Take for instance, the one at Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain, which comes with a 3-tier underground parking lot, where you only have to move few steps in the level -3 aller way to take 'sub' train or metro. Or you can also move to level -1 to take speed train (with speed of 400km/h) to Madrid, spanish capital and Barcelona, the commercial hub, or you have the possibility of taking the elevator to level 0, that is the surface, to pick commuter buses and trains to various destinations with "virgen de pilar" including

Before we talk of Ghanaian version of interchange, the one at Kwame Nkrumah Circle for example and litany of 'interchanges' that have sprung up in the country and many more intended to be built, l will like to talk about two categories of intercity major road ways

The echos of footpaths, passage ways for animal husbandry, untarred roads in the hinterland connecting farms, villages and the railway tracks and what-have-you may not necessarily fit into what l call conventional roads of which we have highway with tarred sidewalk/border and the one without sidewalk/border

The intercity highway with tarred sidewalk/border has general speed limit concept of 100kms/h (kms/h=kilometres per hour). While the one without tarred sidewalk/border has speed limit of 90km/h

I don't understand what is meant by ECO or green highway road as there is no limitation of CO2 emission for vehicles using such road, but the green intercity highway has tarred sidewalk with general speed limit concept of 100kms/h, with occasionally succesive parking space along the highway where drivers occasionally stop, rest and do some form of mechanic checkups on their vehicles. Drivers using ECO or the green road just like any other highway with tarred sidewalk are often allowed the privilege of 10kms/h more during overtaking, that is, drivers can reach 110kms/h during overtaking despite the road having maximum speedlimit of 100kms/h

I will put motorways, (with and without tollbooth) in the category of unconventional major roads, motorways come with more than one lane in both directions, with occasionally successive parking space, filling stations, groceries stores etc.and with general speed limit concept of 120kms/h. But what makes motorways different from conventional roads, having "minimum" speed limit of 70kms/h, motorways are fenced and prohibition of circulation of, scooters, pedestrians, cyclists, heavyduty agricultural machinery like tractors, truck pushers and animal-hauled vehicles is strictly enforced

We must also note that despite general concepts, roads signs prevail over general concepts of roads. Is not surprising to see motorways or conventional highways continue their trajectory through urban areas. When they do, automatically they become "streets," and streets have maximum speed limit of 50kms/h. 50kms/h can be ostensibly reduced to 10kms/h if there is large gatherings of school children or adults queuing for one thing or the other in city centers

So, the Ghanaian version of interchange (which consists mostly in 3-tier overpass) has sole purpose and function, and always outside the urban areas (intercity) as exit and entrance point of motorways or as diversional point of several motorways connecting simultaneously at one point. If we should have a better understanding of the term interchange itself, it is simple as connecting point of unconventional and conventional intercity roads

You can see bridges, foot bridges and elevated level-crossings in the world capital cities like Paris, London and Madrid not the Ghanaian version of interchange. Because interchange when used in intercity or outskirt of the city has the function of maintaining circulation fluidity between minimum speed limit of 70kms/h and 120kms/h at maximum

But in urban areas, we don't have to change from one road to another road nor do we have to mainatin specified speed limit, all we need to do is to ensure continous flow of vehicles to avoid traffic jams

Ironically 'Ghanaian version' of interchange doesn't resolve the problem of traffic jams, it adds rather to environmental and noise pollution. We need bigger rounabouts or more than one tier intersections/T. junctions in the urban areas, functional traffic lights and traffic police officers, and if we should do as advanced countries, we need tubeways or metro ways and trolley cars in our cities to ease traffic congestion

Note: This article is not intended to despise Mahama led NDC government which l consider as pacesetter in modern day infrastructural development but to bring awareness

Agobodzo, Richard
You can contact Agobodzo Richard through email, [email protected] or www.facebook.com/Agobodzo Richard

Richard Agobodzo
Richard Agobodzo, © 2016

The author has 44 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: RichardAgobodzo

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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