Author: Carl Odame-Gyenti, PhD
Articles

Problematic engineering work on Pokuase interchange: An open letter to Roads Minister

Kindly permit me to use your medium that undoubtedly has a far-reaching target audience to bring to the attention of the Minister for Roads and Highways, Hon. Amoako Attah of the potential road menace, that is brewing and will manifest sooner or later if it is not properly addressed.

First and foremost, the much-touted Pokuase interchange project is expected to be opened to the general public in the first week of July 2021. Let me take this opportunity to thank the present government as well as the previous government for making it one of the essential road projects and attending to the cry of the people of Accra-Nsawam; Awoshie-Pokuase; Pokuase-Kwabenya-Ritz Junction Road and its environs.

Indeed, when the news broke that the interchange was going to be constructed at a cost of USD94.8million dollars and funded by the African Development Bank and the Government of Ghana, it was received with great joy, considering the unbearable traffic the communities around Pokuase and commuters to Kumasi and beyond had to go through on a daily basis.

In fact, the stretch of that road is a major road (N6) in Ghana connecting Accra. The road is made up of Roads different tiers as follows; the Accra-Kumasi Highway, which has four lanes, two each on the main carriageway, forms the first tier. Traffic movement from Nsawam towards Kwabenya and Awoshie and from Accra towards Awoshie and Kwabenya form the second tier.

The third-tier controls traffic movement from Kwabenya to Accra and Nsawam and from Awoshie to Nsawam and Accra. The fourth tier is designed to move vehicular traffic from Awoshie to Kwabenya, and vice versa. The Awoshie-Pokuase Interchange is being executed under the Accra Urban Transport Project and is supervised by the Department of Urban Roads.

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Top view design of Pokuase Interchange – Accra Urban Transport Project

Respectively Honourable, I am not an engineer and I don’t intend to be one and hence might not be able to display any academic prowess in the field of engineering. However, a layman’s observation would be able to reveal the pathetic nature of engineering work carried out on the Ofankor stretch to the main Pokuase township and to Nsawam. It is regrettable to note that 5 lanes converge to 2 lanes just at the ‘Light out’ junction.

This junction is the cause of terrible traffic and it can cause approximately 45minutes of delay during rush hours. Just about half kilometers after this Junction is a bus stop for ‘Trotro drivers” to park so that passengers are able to board and alight from their buses.

Painfully enough, there is a sharp ‘U-turn’ for commuters from Ofankor connecting to the main stretch to Accra. This also holds the traffic from commuters from Accra to Kumasi. I am not sure I am using the appropriate diction or technical terminologies to describe the situation and the mess it creates in the morning, but it is just an eyesore.

So, the question a lot of people (including myself) are asking is that, how can right-thinking engineers reduce 5 lanes to a double lane. Where smaller cars are competing with such big articulated trucks in rush hours coupled with the unwanted U-turn situated at the junction. I may be wrong, but I honestly think this is a planning gap.

It would be much appreciated if the structural engineers take a second look at that design. Since taxpayers may be disadvantaged and repay the loan in years to come, it is equally important to ensure our road networks receive the needed attention to meet the needs of the future citizenry as best as possible.

As the President of the republic encourages Ghanaians to be citizens and not spectators, I would appreciate it if your good office engages the structural engineer (Associated Consultants Limited) and the contractor, Zhogmei Engineering Group Ltd of China to reconsider the design and make necessary adjustments to bring relief to the good people of Ghana.

I would like to recommend and that, that U-turn is temporally closed during rush house from 5:00 am to 10:00 am and divert the traffic flow to Kwabenya stretch to descend on the interchange to Accra. Alternatively, I highly recommend the U-turn to be closed permanently to allow ease of traffic. This would move the bottleneck away from the hot spot.

I hope my request will be given the needed attention to enable the entire project to serve its intended purpose. Thank you.

May God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

Sincerely

Carl Odame-Gyenti, PhD

Credit: Miriam Amoako, Joseph Ofori-Teiko

The writer, Carl Odame-Gyenti, PhD is a Finance and Investment professional, managing local and global Investors, Intermediaries, Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institution relationships with an International Bank in Ghana. Contact: Carl.odamegyenti@gmail.com , Cell: +233-204811911

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