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General News Tue, 24 Feb 2004

Road users to be educated

Accra, Feb 24, GNA- Mr Edward A. Kwakye, Director of Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Roads and Transport on Tuesday announced that an intensive education on the effect of overloading on roads among stakeholders is to be held to help prolong the life span of roads in Ghana.

He said this had become necessary because of the lack of understanding the dangers of overloading and ignorance of the law road users pressurize operators to carry additional passengers or loads that exceeded the authorized limits.

Presenting a paper at a workshop on the "Axle Load Control Policy in Ghana" on Tuesday in Accra, Mr Kwakye said there was the need to amend the maximum gross weight of vehicles prescribed by law, to encourage a more efficient use of vehicles with larger numbers of axle configuration.

The workshop, funded by the European Union (EU), a major stakeholder in the road sector, is being attended by over 100 participants from the transport sector, including haulage companies, and representatives of the Military, the Ivory Coast and Malian Embassies in Ghana.

Participants were to draw strategies and action plans for the installation of weigh bridges to control the spate of non-compliance with the axle-load limitations.

Documents to be discussed are the "Axle Load Control Policy in Ghana, The Need and Relevance of Axle Load Control, Axle Load Weighing Operations and The Role of Enforcement Agencies in Axle Load Control." Mr Kwakye said axle load study in 1993 had established that, 31 per cent of heavy buses and trucks were overloaded in excess of seven to 10 tonnes respectively, and that overloaded vehicles tend to avoid their lanes and drive in the road, thus making the roadway unsafe for vehicles following them as well as on-coming ones.

He said the various government institutions have a stake at various levels to control axle loading and to enforce the legal requirements of loading since if that was not tackled it would accentuate the need for expensive interventions.

Such interventions, he said might include expensive rehabilitation and reconstruction instead of cheaper options like routine and periodic maintenance.

He mentioned agencies mandated by law to enforce axle load control as the sector Ministry, Ministries of the Interior, Justice and Attorney-Generals Department, the Police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and others.

He said as part of efforts to control overloading of vehicles, factories of warehouses and ports have been mandated by the Policy to install weighbridges on their premises and issue weight certificates of vehicles before leaving their premises.

Mr Kwakye said off-site mining, quarry and constitutional equipment, shall be kept at the site of activity, and only be moved on the roadway under appropriate permits.

Source: GNA