Rejoinder: Parents withdraw wards from school over highway

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 Source: Tsikata, Prosper Yao

I plead your indulgence once again to ask for space to comment on the above-captioned article which appeared on your website on September 14, 2011. In so far as the deficiencies in leadership remains to be a canker that is ailing our society and we all continue to pay the price for the systemic failures as a result, we must all find a voice to express those imperfections, and the impulse to better our environment through constructive criticisms and suggestions should not be denied us, especially as taxpayers with a stake in the development our country.

Travellers on the Tema-Atimpoku stretch of the Tema-Ho road would agree with me that there are simply too many speed ramps on that stretch of road. The discomfort these speed ramps cause to passengers and drivers and their impact on longevity of the road and vehicle cannot be underestimated. There is, however, no doubt that these speed ramps were constructed to compel drivers plying this route to slow down in order to prevent fatalities on that stretch of road. This is as a result of pedestrians crossing the road unexpectedly wherever there is a hamlet or small community along its course.

Please permit me to ask the following questions: first, has there been any monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the numerous speed ramps scattered on that road with the results to serve as a benchmark for the construction of other roads in the country? Second, are there any alternatives to speed ramps that will allow the free flow of traffic on the said road as should be on a highway? Third, do we have engineers in Ghana who have the interest of the country at heart or we have family members who are answerable to no one but their paymasters?

If one is able to answer those three questions dispassionately without the political leanings and sentiments - I mean the NDC and NPP insanity that has usurped our rationalities – one would begin to realize that we are a country that would continue to replicate same mistakes everywhere until we start to hold people accountable for the system’s failures – let’s stop putting the parties on trial and hold individuals who have faces accountable.

I do not want to believe that the contractors and engineers who worked on the new Akatsi-Dzodze highway did not foresee this sort of problem from the very conception or inception of the project. Indeed, if they even lacked the analytical power to consider the impact of the road on communities along its course, the Ho-Atimpoku stretch and the Accra-Tema motorway examples are sufficient to have served as comparative cases for their analysis. But in Ghana, anything goes!

Our engineers should get it that highways do not pass through towns and cities for the obvious reason that they may become death traps for pedestrians. If chiefs and opinion leaders are asking that highways be channeled through their cities and towns, it is the duty of an engineer who has the welfare of his country at heart to educate them based on his advantaged position as an expert. But when we continue to behave as if our expert knowledge is subservient to political demands and expediency, we lose our relevance to society.

You can judge for yourselves what is going to happen to this newly constructed highway and at what cost to the taxpayer.

Prosper Yao Tsikata

Columnist: Tsikata, Prosper Yao