A surge in speeding by vehicles plying the main 15.8 km Somanya-Kpong highway has left residents of Menekpo-Kodjonya, a community on the stretch fearing more people could be knocked down and killed if authorities continue to turn a blind eye to their call for the construction of speed ramps to avert further knockdowns.
With about 15 people knocked down within a spate of one year with its resultant deaths and injuries, according to assembly member for the area, Gabriel Kelvin Tettey, residents say enough is enough.
Members of the community say though blocking the road has remained the only option for them, they have been restrained from taking such an action, opting to instead put resources together to adopt ingenious ways to slow down speeding vehicles and reduce the risk of knockdowns, as a temporal measure.
This means residents have over the years relied on the use of unorthodox materials such as laterite and ship ropes as improvised speed ramps in the area.
The situation remains dire as residents; men, women, children and the aged are compelled to cross the road daily to access various amenities including the community public toilet, the only public basic school in the area, community library, water facilities, community football field and other needs.
The Somanya-Kpong road, though in the Eastern Region, links the Greater Accra and Volta Regions and this means heavy vehicular use and thereby exposing residents to the dangers of speeding vehicles in the absence of speed ramps.
The residents including assemblyman for the area, opinion leaders and the chief of the area renewed the appeal on Sunday, July 19, 2020 as the community took to fixing ship ropes on the road.
The Assembly Man for Menekpo-Kodjonya who led residents on a self-help community exercise to fix ship ropes on Sunday as temporal speed ramps as the latest effort to stop the carnage said contrary to agitations from the youth of the area for a road blockade to press home their demand, they had resorted to following the mandated protocol instead.
“This is a busy road and the cars that ply this road, ply the road at maximum speed which makes it unsafe for community dwellers to cross the road easily and unfortunately for us, we don’t have the speed ramps in the area,” the assemblyman lamented.
Gabriel Tettey lamented that countless appeals to the Ghana Highway Authority, the Department of Urban Roads, and the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly to construct standard speed ramps in the area to save lives have fallen on deaf ears.
“This a temporal measure we are taking now and we are expecting authorities from Ghana Highways and Urban Roads to come to our aid and assist us to get standard speed ramps here so that the accidents which occur here will be reduced.
The closest authorities came to addressing the problem, he recounted, was officials of the GHA visiting the area to assess the situation but that was the last they heard from them.
According to the Assembly Man, the current spate of road crashes and pedestrians being knocked down required immediate action.
He said the last incident involved a police vehicle that ran over a member of the community, killing him instantly.
Asawatse of Menekpo-Kodjonya, Nene Teye Adjiso III said the construction of speed ramps in the area is long overdue as opinion leaders continue to restrain agitated youth from embarking on a drastic action.
The chief noted that the most affected were the aged and children, and said several deaths and injuries had been recorded by hit-and-run drivers.
He called on the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly, the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, and the traditional authorities to support their appeal to save people in the area.
A resident, Odonkor David Dei who said the problem is an age-old one, recalled a 1986 incident where a woman together with her three children were crushed to death by a speeding vehicle.
He also recounted a recent incident where a young girl was killed in her attempt to cross the road to visit a public place of convenience.
According to Mr. Dei, he had personally made several attempts to get past and current MCEs in the area to solve the problem but all to no avail.
Most residents who spoke expressed similar sentiments and called on drivers to exercise extreme caution on the road in the absence of the speed ramps.
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