Traffic nightmare on Ofankor-Nsawam road …motorists, commuters decry daily gridlock

Motorists and commuters plying the Ofankor- Nsawam road have expressed worry about the growing vehicular traffic on the road.

According to them, the Pokuase Interchange, which was thought could help address the increasing gridlock on the road, had done little to address the challenge.

In an interview with some trotro drivers and commuters, they said it was increasingly becoming difficult to travel from Ofankor to Nsawam due to the heavy vehicular traffic on the road, and said the expansion of the road would help address the problem.

Yaw Mensah, a trotro driver, told the Ghanaian Times that the narrow nature of the road from Ofankor to Pokuase and vice versa and from Pokuase to Amasaman onwards and vice versa was the cause of the traffic.

He explained that the four lanes from Circle emptied into a tw- lane from Ofankor to Pokuase and from Pokuase towards Amasaman, creating a serious gridlock.

In addition, he said, the bus stop after the Amasaman traffic light was another challenge creating traffic on the Ofankor-Nsawam stretch as some drivers stopped on the road to pick passengers, thereby creating traffic.

According to Mr Mensah, the 15.5-kilometre journey from Ofankor to Nsawam which should take less than 30 minutes could take more than two hours because of traffic on the road, affecting the business of trotro drivers operating on the Circle-Nsawam road.

“Without traffic I can go four trips from Circle to Nsawam a day but because of traffic, I can go only three trips a day and have to buy a lot fuel thus affecting my daily sales,” he said.

Mr Andrews Quansah, another trotro driver, said there must be urgent action by the government to expand the Ofankor-Nsawam road to address the traffic problem on the road.

He said the heavy gridlock on the stretch was increasing the cost of operating on the road.

Mr Quansah said prior to the election a sod was cut to expand the Ofankor-Nsawam road  but as of now nothing had been done on the road yet.

He said the contractor dredged the median of the road and placed concrete slabs in the median and sides of the road, which were a nuisance to motorists.

“If the Ofankor to Nsawam road is not expanded, the Pokuase Interchange will serve as a white elephant,” he said.

Another trotro driver, Kofi Homesu, said after the construction of the Pokuase Interchange, the traffic situation had worsened.

“It is like we have relocated the traffic from Pokuase because construction of the Pokuase Interchange has not helped to address the traffic situation the government intends to address,” he said.

A worker, Rose Apau, who stays at Medie and works at Circle, said, she had regretted relocating to Medie due to the heavy traffic on the Ofankor-Nsawam road.

“My brother, I have to wake up early about 4am to be able to get to the office at 8am. Going back home in the evening is another trouble.  This is taking a serious toll on my health,” she lamented.

Ms Apau said a lot of people were relocating to the Nsawam area due to the congestion in Accra, and, there was the need for government to expand the Ofankor-Nsawam road.

The Ofankor-Nsawam, road which is part of the Circle-Nsawam Highway, is an important international economic route that links Ghana to the Sahelian countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Expanding the lanes from the Ofankor to Nsawam would help to promote economic trade between Ghana and its neighbouring countries and facilitate movement of people on the road.

In an interview with the Resident Engineer on the Ofankor-Nsawam Road Project, Bernard Owusu, he said plans were underway to expand the road.

He said the project would be expanded to a three-service lane on both sides of the road.

Mr Owusu said the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA)   late last year fixed the potholes on the road which were contributing to traffic on the road.

Asked why Meripoma, the contractor which was awarded the contract to construct the road had not started work, the Resident Engineer said “there are some challenges and immediately they are addressed, the contractor will start work on the project.”

The Resident Engineer said the heavy vehicular traffic on the road could also be blamed on human behaviour.

He said the stopping of some drivers in the middle of the road to pick passengers and broken down vehicles were also contributing to the gridlock on the road.

In an interview with the Head of Public Affairs of Ghana Highways Authority, Cecil Nii Obodai Wentum, he said  a contract was signed in 2016 for the rehabilitation of the road.

He said the extent of deterioration necessitated the reconstruction of the road.

Mr Wentum said rescoping was currently being done on the road and was at the planning stage.

The Head of Public Affairs said the scope of work on Nsawam-Ofankor project when started would have three main dual courage way and two lane service roads, adding that there would flyovers at Amasaman, Pobiman, Medie and Nsawam.

“In addition to that there will be an expansion of the Pobiman toll booth and then we will have the provision of pedestrian crosses and one underpass in addition to eight foot bridges on that stretch,” Mr Wentum, said.

He disclosed that work would soon start on the project.

FROM KINGSLEY ASARE, NSAWAM

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