*Residents lament
STORY: KWAKU NTI

The Mallam-Kasoa road at night

Residents along the Mallam-Kasoa highway have lamented the increasing road accidents on the highway and have appealed to government to find a lasting solution to the problem before the worst happens.
According to the residents, deaths on the road has been a usual bitter pill which they have painfully swallowed after authorities have failed to heed to calls to construct flyovers and repair traffic lights and street lights on the 18-kilometre highway.
“There is no single week that someone is not knocked down by a vehicle on this road; for us here, seeing someone die on the road is a usual phenomenon which we have accepted in bad fate,” a resident told this reporter.
The severity of accidents on the road, a police officer who spoke with our reporter on condition of anonymity, said “lies in the fact that people who are knocked down by speeding vehicles either die or are injured beyond recognition as victims are mostly dismembered.”
“Most often than not, it becomes extremely difficult to identify some of these victims. Some die on the spot while others sustain severe injuries and their relatives would never come for them so sometimes we are left with no option than to pretend we have not seen anything,” he bemoaned.
Intended to ease congestion and enhance free movement of persons and goods, the World Bank and government of Ghana funded highway from Mallam Junction in the Ga South District of the Greater Accra Region to Kasoa in the Awutu Senya District of the Central Region, has become a new grave yard for the people of the area.
Two gruesome accidents, which have necessitated the intensity of the call, Today was told, were the death of pedestrians and hawkers at the SCC Junction of the road and also the killing of a woman and her 5-year-old child at Tettegu Junction.
These two junctions, Today gathered, are accident-prone spots on the road.
While about ten people lost their lives and others were disfigured at SCC Junction in the latter part of last year, a woman who sells roasted plantain and her child were killed instantly at the Tettegu junction.
Though the accident at Tettegu junction has led to the construction of strips on that portion of the road, vehicles have failed to heed to warnings and continuously speed at that junction.
Investigations revealed that a widow and six children currently rely on the benevolence of neighbours before they survive after the bread winner, Mr. Joseph Akakpo, aka Nash Wotor, was killed at the same spot in 2007.
“Their father was killed by a car at Tettegu junction and their mother suffer before taking care of the one girl and the five boys……the eldest is 13 years and the youngest is 6 years old,” a neighbour told Today.
This reporter was present when a young man who had alighted from a Trotro vehicle was knocked down by an approaching vehicle when the victim was trying to cross the road at Choice, another accident-prone junction on the road.
An angry resident indicated that close to five hundred people has either lost their lives or have being maimed on the road since its completion six years ago.
“…Some of us who have been staying in this area since 1990 believed the construction of the road would help to reduce accidents but the opposite has happened, we cannot fathom why we should lose dear ones on the road as nothing is done about that,” Mr. Tettey, a resident complained.
The cause of the accidents, Today learnt, is as a result of the lack of flyovers on the International road which not only help transport tourist to the numerous beaches that line up the coast, but also serves as the main entry point for Ivoirians and other foreigners that enter the capital from the west.
What is more, is the unavailability of traffic lights on the $28-million road which rehabilitation began on February 2, 2004 and was completed in February 2006 has also been another contributory factor to accidents on the road.
Few traffic lights which are available at six out of the about 15 bus stops on the highway are not functioning when Today visited.
That situation, Today observed, compels pedestrians to wait for long hours before crossing the road.
Alarmed by this, parents who live at either side of the highway have either withdrawn their wards from schools or permitted them to stay out of school for fear of accidents.
A student, Ms. Nelly Owusu-Asante, confirmed this and lamented how the absence of police on the road negatively affects them.
“There is no police presence in spite of the malfunctioning of the traffic lights—its affecting us and something should be done about that,” she said.
The traffic lights, residents said “had not been functioning for some months now” and had become white elephants which together with dysfunctional street lights decorate the road.
The traffic lights in addition to the numerous power outages that occur frequently in the area had ceased to function because “drivers’ constantly pull them down with their vehicles.”
However, drivers who ply the route complained that the dysfunctional nature of the street lights has been the cause of the road accidents.
“Driving on the road at night constitutes a major challenge to motorist and pedestrians. If you are not careful you could crash your car into anything, so we are taking this medium to call on authorities to act as soon as possible, Mr. Kwasi Amponsah, a Trotro driver appealed.
“Our roads have become a street of darkness, darkness so thick that it’s impossible to see the next approaching vehicle from a distance…we can’t just understand that,” Mr. Wisdom Kumah, a teacher lamented.
A reliable source at the Axel Load Control also lamented about the malfunctioning of street lights which according to him “have persisted for almost three years now and it baffles us.”
“Even when it is repaired the erratic supply of power damages it again,” the source continued.
Residents therefore appealed to authorities to do something about that because “we cannot continually bury loved ones.”

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