The Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE) has expressed worry about the state of the road infrastructure in the country, especially their lifespan.
Results from the Ghana Infrastructure Report Card (GIRC), a process that assesses the quality and state of roads, indicates that roads in the country have been poorly built and deteriorate at a fast pace.
The GIRC, among other benchmarks, also monitors and tests if the appropriate materials were used to build roads, the level of supervision, specifications and design.
Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Acting Executive Director of GhIE, disclosed this at a two-day workshop on new technologies and materials that could be used to reduce cost and improve the resilience of both rural and paved roads to climate-induced weather events.
Over the next two days, 50 engineers from the Department of Feeder and Urban Roads and Association of Road Contractors across the country participating in the training, would be schooled on cost-effective engineering solutions to make roads and bridges more resilient.
The workshop, being facilitated by the International Road Federation, under the theme: “Building Climate Resilient Rural Roads and Highways,” would also help the engineers to learn about new materials and understand practical situation-specific solutions from some of the top resilience experts globally.
Mr Agyepong explained that road construction was a systematic process that needed to be handled expertly, especially as the country faced financial constraints. The GhIE would actively engage with the road agencies to ensure strict adherence to standards and specifications in order to build good roads with a long lifespan.
Mr Agyepong said for the institution to be able to sanitise the engineering sector, government needed to expedite the passage of the Legislative Instrument on the Engineering Council Act to ensure relevant measures were in place to regulate engineering practice.
While GhlE accepts its special responsibility to the country, recognising that most development problems were essentially engineering problems, Mr Agyepong gave the assurance that the Institution would continue to investigate cases of unethical behaviour and punish members found to have gone contrary to the specified code.
He said GhIE would keenly collaborate with the Government to work towards achieving the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, most of which were engineering related, and create a strong liaison between academia and industry.
Mr Kwesi Amoako-Attah, the Minister of Roads and Highways, said the cost of road maintenance in the country continued to soar, and called for the need to find ingenious ways to reduce the burden.
“Climate change is likely to damage our transportation infrastructure through higher temperatures, severe storms and flooding, and higher storm surges. We need to find time-tested engineering solutions to withstand the effect of climate change on our road network,” he said.
Mr Amoako-Attah said the constant agitation by the public about the bad nature of roads was an indication that a sizeable length of roads in Ghana were not in good condition.
He said the recent rains had compounded the problems and further exposed the bad nature of roads making it difficult for the public to go about their day-to-day activities.
“There is, therefore, the urgent need for the assessment of new viable road construction materials to improve road quality and utilise cost-effective maintenance techniques in the preservation of the road assets,” he said.
Dr Patrick Amoah Bekoe, the Transportation Geotechnical Pavement Engineer and Economist at the Department of Feeder Roads, said climate change had put at risk the lives of millions of people worldwide including many coastal cities, and trillions of dollars of investment in transport infrastructure and services.
He noted that a transport system that could not withstand the emerging impacts of climate change would prove burdensome, impose high costs of repairs, and cause significant economic losses.