The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) in collaboration with the Airport Division of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) has evicted taxi drivers using parts of the Tema Motorway as a taxi rank.
The move was to free spaces that were reserved for other purposes around the Accra Mall and as well reduce the rate at which accidents could be caused by those vehicles.
Mr Lawrence L. L. Lamptey, the Greater Accra Regional Director of the Ghana Highways Authority said the motorway was a highly specialised road with well-designed entry and exit points, therefore, illegal entries and exits could cause road accidents and reduce the effective usage of the road.
He said people took advantage of lorry stations created to generate and to discharge human and solid waste, which contributed to the poor sanitation conditions in the country.
The motorway, he said, was a state property acquired in the 1960s, adding that any development must be at least 500 feet away from the middle of the motorway or 150 metres away from either side of the motorway.
“Any person or business within these 150 metres is encroaching and against the law of the land which is Executive Instrument 46, that gives the acquisition instrument to the GHA,” he said.
Mr Lamptey said the Authority, therefore, decided to evict all the illegal trespassers to make the sites habitable for pedestrians and other users of the land.
“Highways are not under the local authorities but under the GHA therefore, any claims by the drivers that they had been given authority by the District Authorities to operate was questionable, because no local authority has right over the motorway,” he noted.
Chief Inspector Alex K. Kpano, the Station Officer of the Airport Branch of the MTTD, said it was unfortunate that drivers and other road users adhered to laws but hesitated to continue whenever police officers were not available to enforce the laws.
“On several occasions, we have arrested and summoned them to court, where some were fined and others imprisoned but they have still not learnt their lessons. We will do our best to enforce the law and make sure they go and never come back to wherever they are operating”.
He disclosed that the MTTD had permanent officials that always patrolled the sites the evictions were made and gave the assurance that they were going to enforce strict measures to put a stop to the actions.
Chief Inspector Kpano urged drivers who used the motorway to be very careful because there had been new settlements around the motorway.
“So, day in and day out, you see people crossing the motorway from one end to another and cars knocking and killing them unnecessarily. We advise pedestrians to be careful when using the motorway since it’s a high-speed road that allows a maximum speed of 80 kilometre per hour.” He noted.
The Station Officer said among the challenges the Department faced was the interference of government officials in prosecuting recalcitrant drivers.