Kaneshie –Kasoa gridlock! …commuters abandon trotro to go home on foot

The notorious Kaneshie-Kasoa gridlock reached terrible propor­tion on Monday evening, leav­ing thousands of commuters stranded for hours in a traffic jam that stretched over 20 kilo­metres.

What should have been a rou­tine evening commute quickly descended into a nightmare, as a heavy downpour flooded key sections of the Mallam-Kasoa stretch of the Accra-Cape Coast highway.

With the battered road already in poor repair, the flood turned the surface into an impassable swamp at areas like Atala Old Barrier and the defunct toll booth, with silt and filth getting washed onto the road by the rain.

Anytime it rained, a pool of mud from a nearby hill is created along the path of the Kasoa-tollbooth area, popular­ly known as Osiadan, and the stretch between the Old Barrier and SCC Junction, causing heavy vehicular traffic.

For new commuters on the Mallam-Kasoa stretch, last Monday was a terrifying expe­rience for them, and for those who have been plying the road over years, it was a double dose of the usual ordeal that keeps getting worse.

From First Light to SCC Junction, the traffic stood still for hours in bumper-to-bumper, commuters who could not bear the brunt of an immovable vehicle disembarked and contin­ued the journey on foot.

For some young, old, elderly as well as mothers carrying their babies on their back, their only option was to abandon the ve­hicles they were aboard and do the rest of the journey on foot.

Some drivers parked their cars on the shoulders of the road, after their engines ceased abruptly, creating more conges­tion on the already congested road while others tried to divert onto other lanes.

Smart and android phones became the source of enter­tainment for passengers as they were glued to their phones communicating with families and virtual friends and watching videos.

A commuter, Ridwan Al­hassan, who was stranded at the Kaneshie Market, told the Ghanaian Times that he heard a conversation on a police man’s Motorola “…there is no vehicle coming to Accra from Kasoa…” the conversation hinted me of what was ahead for us travelling to Kasoa.

“So, I set out to walk four hours 20 minutes, covering a distance of about 15 kilometres having left the office at 7:00 p.m. and arrived home at New Aplaku Last Stop at 11:20 p.m.”

Another commuter, Michael Eshun, who got to his Wei­ja Gbawe home on Tuesday morning, said he had one of the hellish moments of his life as he sat in a vehicle for hours unending.

A resident of Kasoa, Cecilia Amegah, had similar sentiments to share, adding that she had regretted not leaving work earlier when she suspected that it was going rain and the usual spectacle would unfold.

Over the years, whenever it rains, flood waters deposit muds and garbage onto the 19 –year- old asphalt road, deteriorating the major road linking Greater Accra Region to Central, West­ern Regions and neighbouring La Cote d’iviore.

Ad-hoc measures which had been used to address the situation had not provided the desired results-relief for com­muters, prompting calls for a change in approach.

The Ghanaian Times has ob­served that work is being done on storm drains at the SCC junction to link up with one already done at the Old Barrier to collect the water through the Korkordzor stream into the sea.

The Municipal Engineer of the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly, Dr Daniel Sowah, clarified Citi FM that the sed­iments from the Broadcasting area contribute to the problem as they wash down to the SCC and Old Barrier areas.

He said the matter had been discussed with the Greater Ac­cra Regional Minister designate, who has called for further dis­cussions on a holistic solution to the problem at hand.

Dr Sowah noted that current gutters are insufficient, and new storm drains are being constructed at Baba Dogo and near the Sunda Factory and Old Melcom to manage the water flow and mitigate the issue.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) has cautioned Ghanaians who commute from home to work and to attend to other activi­ties during the rainy season to take every safety precautionary measures to prevent them from being caught up in floods, light­ning from the thunderstorms and flying debris as a result of strong winds.

The Head of Central Analysis and Forecasting Unit of the GMeT, Ms Felecity Ahafianyo, in an exclusive interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, said there was the need, therefore, for the various stakeholders to get on board in order to address the situation.

She mentioned the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), the De­partments of Urban and Feeder Roads, and the National Disas­ter Management Organisation (NADMO) as the institutions.

On the part of the Police MTTD, she said, they should be on the streets to direct traffic during heavy down pour while the Urban and Feeder Roads Department needed to patch all pot- holes and construct storm drains to prevent flooding or minimise its impact.

While the NADMO was expected to be out there on a rescue mission of the vulnera­ble to bring them to safety and provide temporary shelter for the displaced people.

According to Ms Ahafianyo, the citizenry should take keen interest in daily weather forecast from the authority to enable them to plan their daily sched­ules to avoid being caught up unaware in rains and associated storms and winds.


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