The Accra-Tema Motorway has deteriorated and now a death trap
The Accra-Tema Motorway is fast deteriorating, becoming a death trap, with high traffic growth and encroachment of right-of-way, and unless serious efforts are made by the Government to save this vital national asset, traffic build-up and inconveniences to commuters will soon dwarf what exists on other heavily trafficked streets in Accra.
Poor land-use development, excessive axle loading, and substandard maintenance practices are pushing the motorway into an irreversible destructive spiral, posing major threats to productivity and national security.
The 19km Motorway is the oldest paved road in Ghana. Being a concrete pavement, it is more expensive to construct than asphalt or other bituminous surface roads, but it is more economical to operate over the long term. It is longer lasting, stronger, and requires minimal maintenance.
It is showing defects and the condition of the pavement is worsening by the day. Critical observation shows it is rapidly deteriorating as sealant, steel reinforcement damage and cracks are plainly visible.
New residential areas further north include parts of East Legon, Adjiringano, Trasacco Valley and the Borteiman Estates which are still under development. Developments on the southern end include factories, bonded warehouses, shopping malls, and residential estates.
The economic importance of the motorway cannot be over emphasized as it is the main route for transporting goods to the Tema Harbour, and also passengers and goods to the Volta and Northern Regions from Accra, and countries east of Ghana. It is part of the Trans-West
The Motorway also carries traffic from Accra to Tema (Communities 21, 22, 25) and settlements and communities in Sakumono and Teshie-Nungua.
Encroachment on the motorway is an ongoing activity. Buildings and warehouses are springing up rapidly, as if it is a race. Currently, there is a huge ground water tank positioned next to the pavement that will clearly impede future expansion of the motorway. The water tank serves the Accra Mall. Next to this is the show room for a reputable real estate company. (Casa Trasacco).
The earlier encroachment on the motorway is stopped, the better. The loss of productivity, the waste of fuel, threats to health, crime and similar costs to the nation would otherwise be colossal. It would be easier to address the problem now than later. The expense and challenge involved in rectifying the problem swells for each day that no action is taken.
It appears Ghanaian technocrats have learned nothing from the problems Spintex road has caused commuters. This writer advised the authorities about the imminent crisis on the Spintex road as far back as 1997 but nothing was done.
Consider that the Government is saddled with paying millions of cedis as compensation for people affected by the expansion of the Motorway extension work – N1, financed by the MIDA, an expense that could have been avoided if state institutions had preserved the right of way from encroachment.
The absence of an adequate land-use plan is identified as one of the factors fuelling the rapid encroachment on the Motorway.
At this rate, without firm government intervention traffic will become unbearable in the not too distant future, accidents will increase, the motorway will be downgraded to a dual carriageway, and traffic lights and parking lots will have to be introduced.
In 2009, former Roads and Highways Minister under the late President John Evans Atta Mills promised expanding the motorway into a six-lane highway.
But after six years of a gargantuan promise which never saw the day of light, President John Mahama on March 19, 2014, has also disclosed that a loan facility has been secured for the expansion of the Accra-Tema Motorway.
But after a year of his visit to the motorway, no contractor has gone to site to start the much awaited project.