Portion of the wire mesh fence fitted in the median of the George Walker Bush Highway, also known as NI, have been stolen, creating free, fast but fatal routes for pedestrians to cross the road.
The boundary was installed on the 14-kilometre Tetteh Quarshie-Mallam Highway to ensure that pedestrians crossed at only the designated zebra crossings and footbridges.
However, the Ghanaian Times has observed that the mesh on the six-lane highway have gone missing in bits and pieces, specifically on the Mallam-Kwashieman-Lapaz stretch, and Achimota-Abofu-Dzorwulu section, with no major replacement done.
A visit to the affected areas showed remnants of metal rods which used to hold the mesh intact, while some of the mesh were found hanging, making it easier to be carted away.
It was also observed that some fabricated metal barricades in the median of the road had been mangled, waiting to be carted away by scrap dealers who, allegedly, were said to have stolen the mesh at night.
Without fear of death, pedestrians, including those carrying loads or with babies strapped at their backs hurriedly scaled over the barricades and crossed the road.
Some of them cross a few metres away from the footbridges constructed along the highways with the excuse that the bridges were too far away from their desired crossing points.
A trader at Lapaz, Alfred Sampong, said he was not aware of how the fence went missing, but it had made it easier for him to reach his destination since using the footbridge took a longer period.
“I know it is dangerous to use this route, which is why I ensure that no vehicle is approaching before I cross. As for the footbridge, it is too far from where I am going to,” he said.
A driver, KwekuAfrane, said, “We have not heard any action taken against those who steal the mesh or those who wrongly cross the road, neither have the missing mesh been replaced. Until something changes, I am not sure the people will change.”
According to a pedestrian who only gave his name as Obeng, there should be more footbridges along the N1 to encourage people to use them.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), Cecil Obodai Wentum, said the Road Safety Division of the Authority was aware of the situation.
“They have assessed the extent of damage and they are putting together a budget for approval from the Ministry of Roads and Highways,” but would not state when work would start.
It is recalled that on March 24, 2014, it was reported that the Tesano District Police Command arrested a man named “God” for stealing some wire mesh on NI.
On November 7, 2019, five persons were arraigned before an Accra Circuit court for a similar offence.
According to the National Road Safety2017 data, the N1 was one of the three most dangerous roads in Ghana with the accident-prone sections, including Achimota Interchange to Mallam Junction to Weija.
Named after the 43rd president of the United States, George Walker Bush, the highway was officially opened to motorists on February 15, 2012. It is part of the N1 which stretches from Elubo to Aflao.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR