Road Tolls and Accountability: The Hole(!) in the Accra-Tema Motorway

I probably should not write this as my parents will be worried when they read it, but the Accra-Tema motorway (or Tema-Accra motorway as we who live in Tema call it) is falling apart.

When I drove to work on Tuesday, I was halted by some serious traffic after just a kilometer or so. I assumed it was one of the common accidents, but was surprised to find the traffic was caused by a hole in one of the bridges on the motorway. The water below could be seen through the hole…

Bignp62IIAAO6I2

I subsequently tweeted a warning:

All traveling from Tema to Accra, be careful as one of the bridges, right lane, has a big, gaping hole! @Citi973 @BloggingGhana

— Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) March 11, 2014

As I returned home in the evening around 8PM, the traffic now stretched from the hole all the way to Tema. I tweeted that too:

This evening the #motorway hole caused major traffic…what is being done? @YoungSirGh @BloggingGhana @police_gov_gh @Citi973

— Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) March 11, 2014

This morning, I set my alarm to 5.30 AM to “dodge” the traffic, but was still caught for 30 min by it and tweeted that too (that is what I do when stuck!)

Today’s “hole traffic” already winding on the Tema side of the #motorway @RichardDelaSky @BloggingGhana @InformGhana pic.twitter.com/D2jQUqVHLk

— Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) March 12, 2014

I was happy to just minutes later hear the CitiFM Morningshow crew bringing the issue up and even calling the Minister for Roads and Highways for an explanation. Driving on the Accra-Tema motorway is not free, I pay toll every time I enter, so does everyone else. Finding that the road is not well maintained, that street lights and railings which get hit never are replaced and  holes in the bridges (not the first time) makes me angry! Where is that money?

They are now going to do repairs, but morning show host Bernard Avle asked an important question:

“What is the status of other bridges on the motorway?”- @benkoku @Citi973

— Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) March 12, 2014

As I drive on the motorway everyday, I would like to know. I think my parents would like to know too.

Earlier posts on the motorway: New Ghana Road Tolls Today, One Year of Road Toll in Ghana: My Experience and Kwame Nkrumah: The city of Tema (part 2).

 

 

One Year of Road Toll in Ghana: My Experience

Last first of February, I woke up to a new reality. The previous silly-low road toll for taking the motorway to town had been increased ten-fold! That day, I joined the long queue of surprised motorists and payed my 50 pesewas to go in the morning, and 50 pesewas on the way home. All in all 1 GHC per day, at least 20 days a month ever since.

I was one of the ones who, despite the sharp price increase, was happy. I told anyone who wanted to listen that now things would change. First of all, it didn’t make sense to wait 5-15 min at a toll booth to pay the equivalent of two-three cents. But more importantly, deep holes in the concrete motorway, broken/non-existent street lights and pedestrians crossing at any given point would be a distant memory. We would all be able to go to work SAFELY. Wasn’t that worth 1 GHC per day?

A year has passed and the 20 x 12 = 240 GHC that I have payed has unfortunately resulted in very little:

  • One more road toll station has been completed, making queuing a few minutes shorter (It opened two weeks ago)
  • The informal exit to communities 18-19 has been tarred (but no signs or white lines making the exit a hazard)
  • Some potholes have been mended (but new, deeper ones have also appeared)

I must say I am disappointed. I never expected to a year after paying decent road tolls still drive home in  the dark. Even white lines to mark the sides of the road are not there.

Statistics reported on Joy FM on the 20th of January said that already this year (that is 2-19th Jan 2011), 724 vehicles had been involved in car accidents in Ghana. 580 people had been injured and 120 had died.

When will Ghana start taking road safety seriously?