The Kwame Nkrumah Motorway (Accra Tema Motorway) was opened to traffic in November 1965. The weighted Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) volume recorded in 2008 on the road was 65,200 vehicles per day (vpd), comprising 16% of vehicles in the medium and heavy groups. It is estimated that more than 20,000 vehicles use unapproved routes to join the motorway on daily basis. (ref. Ghana Investment Promotion Centre website)
Following several complaints from individuals since 2017 about the Accra-Tema Motorway received by the BPS we commissioned a project to verify and ascertain the status quo independently.
- Undertake a survey into activities of motorists and other road users of the motorway
- Conduct a risk assessment on the use of the motorway and advise all stakeholders
This exercise was conducted between January 20th and March 31st of 2019. The Bureau of Public Safety made the following observations and wish to detail them here below:
- The 19km stretch is laced with 45 unauthorized U-turns out of which some 24 have a semblance of blockade while another 21 U-turns have been effectively created and frequently used by cars, mini buses (trotros), tricycles and motorcycles, etc. The danger this phenomenon creates for other road users should not be overlooked.
- We further counted two hundred and thirty-six (236) footpaths laced across the median. Majority of them occurring at areas with established settlements within the buffer zone. This high number places pedestrian crossings on the motorway at an average of 12 crosses per every kilometer, thereby effectively defeating the continuous classification of this route as a motorway/freeway.
- The survey identified 28 access points on the Tema to Accra stretch. 6 out of which access points were either restricted or completely blocked out.
- The Accra to Tema carriageway had 23 access points with 4 of them either blocked out or restricted.
- Delineation on the route is generally poor, and in some cases completely non-existent. This impacts negatively on driver performance under rainy, foggy, nightly and other poor visibility weather conditions
- While we observed most commercial drivers literally soliciting for passengers as they ply the 100km/hr limit route, we discovered fourteen (14) major Stop/Pick up points along both sides of the dual carriageway. This practice causes sudden/abrupt obstructions with a high potential of causing multiple traffic crashes with its attendant fatal consequences.
- Undertaking slow moving traffic has become the norm as most heavy-duty trucks and trailers, tricycles, and other slow moving cars take to the speed lane thereby forcing able cars to undertake them. The hazard posed to the vehicle obstructing traffic flow, the other (vehicle) undertaking and unsuspecting pedestrian cannot be overemphasized.
- Furthermore, some vehicles (especially cars, tricycles and motorcycles) travel counter-traffic for distances between 100 to 300 meters to negotiate U-turns or exit the motorway. This practice poses great danger for oncoming traffic especially at nights.
- For the period of our survey and risk assessment we did not observe any consistent active effort of Law Enforcement with respect to traffic regulations, except in isolated cases of broken down vehicles and road crashes where the police intervened to control traffic flow.
- Redesign and reclassify the Motorway to an urban highway, and lace it with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, bus stops and allow for arterial and local roads to link
- Redefine with immediate effect the buffer zone along the motorway and maintain same by removing or relocating all encroachers; be it State or private facility.
- Provide effective all year round delineation systems with accompanying maintenance program considering the high volume of traffic on a daily basis estimated at 65,000 vehicles daily (2008).
- Provide dedicated police patrol services to enforce traffic regulations on speeding and traffic obstructions in addition to escort/security services for broken down vehicles.
Per statistics available to the BPS since 2017, transportation related incidents continue to be the highest contributor of deaths, compared to all public safety events, averaging about 7 deaths per day. We therefore implore your outfit to treat this subject with utmost urgency to prevent further carnage and needless deaths.
Research and Advocacy Director
Bureau of Public Safety, Ghana
Publication Date: 14th April, 2019