Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, Minister of Roads and Highways, has inaugurated three Committees made up of seven members each to operationalize the President’s vision of making 2021 the second Year of Roads.
The Committees are to address the challenges and bottlenecks in the country’s road sector.
They are the “Reducing Congestion on National Trunk and Urban Road Networks”, “Improving ‘Safety’ on National Trunk, Urban and Feeder Road Networks”, and “Classification Review” Committees.
The “Safety Committee” chaired by Mr Collins Donkor, Ministry of Roads and Highways (MRH) has other members as Mr Philip Lartey (MRH), Mr Abdullah Billey, Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), Mrs Patience Onny, Department of Urban Roads (DUR), Nana Kwame Ofori Obuobi (DUR), Dr Patrick Bekoe, Department of Feeder Roads (DFR), and Mrs Efua Effah (MRH).
The ‘Congestion Committee’ on the other hand is made up of Dr. Abass M. Awolu (DUR), Mrs Regina S. Vander-Pallen (DUR), Mr Peter Yawson (DFR), Mr David Sitsofe Addo (GHA), Mr Maama Markwei Sawyerr (GHA), Mr Kwasi Agyeman-Boakye (MRH), and Mr Rosby Kome-Mensah (MRH) as the Chairman.
For the “Classification Committee”, the members are Mr Ibrahim Seidu (MRH), Mr David Hammond (GHA), Mr Eric Odosu (GHA), Mr Omane Brimpong (DFR), Mr Rosevelt Otoo (DFR), Mr Joseph Mborah (MRH), with Mr James Amoo Gottfried (DUR) as the Chairman.
Mr Amoako-Attah charged the committees to within three weeks, produce reports to enable them to quickly commence implementation.
He said a very high percentage of road accidents were due to human factor that caused about 2,000 deaths in 2019 and 2,500 deaths in 2020.
“Why should we lose over 2000 of our countrymen and women through needless accidents? All of us have a role to play and my Ministry has a huge challenge as established by law to provide excellent roads for users and the traveling public,” he said.
The Minister charged them to immediately undertake safety audit of all speeding devices on trunk roads which had become a nuisance particularly to heavy duty vehicle drivers.
He also asked them to audit speed ramps and remove those that were unauthorized to sanitize roads.
Mr Amoako-Attah bemoaned the non-cooperative nature of some drivers especially on commercial vehicles with the police on roads.
“Don’t drink and drive but they drink and drive, no wrong overtaking but they do it. They don’t stop and rest when tired. When has someone been in a commercial vehicle and heard the driver pleading with passengers to park and rest for 10 to 15 minutes? Even if a driver does, the passengers will complain that if you know you are not strong to drive, park the car and quit the driving job,” he said.
For the members of the Congestion Committee, the Minister asked them to work on traffic lights at intersections and spearhead the construction of bypasses to ease traffic.
“People fall into traffic and waste time in getting to offices which doesn’t help in productivity nor promote good health. They also end up wasting unnecessary quantities of fuel,” he said.
Mr Amoako-Attah engaging the Classification Committee, asked them to ensure that each engineer or contractor justified the works done before as well as the work they could bid for and reclassify them.
The Committee will among other tasks study the existing system and loopholes in the classification system and block them by issuing new and redesigned certificates.
The step, he said, was to ensure that the Ministry only collaborated with qualified, certified and competent contractors to effectively execute projects.
“Henceforth the Ministry will work with contractors that have been reclassified and all certificates will have the original signature of the Minister,” he stated.
The Ministry, he said, was not awarding new contracts but was working to complete old projects it had started including asphalt overlays, surface dressings, construction and repairing of bridges and interchanges.
Mr Gottfried, on behalf of the Technical Committees, expressed gratitude to the Minister for the confidence reposed in them and gave an assurance to give off their best to merit it.
He said they were thankful that experts were not engaged from outside the country to undertake the tasks and declared their preparedness to collaborate with the Ministry by drawing its strength and that of its agencies to deliver as expected of them.