When the truck is long: Ghana’s obsolete streets

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The Anloga Junction in the Ashanti regional capital Kumasi has recorded many deaths in recent years.

Most recently there was a collision between a truck and a tricycle, in which three people were killed.

Emmanuel Kwasi Debrah goes back to the intersection to assess how the road network is contributing to accidents and explores the way forward.

“Accidents at the Anloga junction are serious”, bus conductor, Abdul Latif Salu evokes the general view of one of the famous crossroads in Ghana.

The death of the pregnant woman, her son and her driver follows the earlier death of a bus conductor in the same place.

A year ago, a cement-laden trailer truck with Ahodwo lost control and slipped while trying to turn a corner. This was the fourth such incident in 3 months.

Although pedestrians are largely unharmed, billboards are constantly being run over by these long trucks.

When you try to push your frame around the bends, your center of gravity is shifted and a fall is inevitable.

“If you can see the lanes, they are small and the big cars from Burkina and Niger have a very difficult time driving in them,” observes Richard Antwi.

Nana Yaw adds: “The big cars suffer a lot and can’t negotiate the curve to get a subscription.”

The lane is too small and too steep so that when the long vehicles reach the corner they will not be able to negotiate the corner, ”remarks Solomon Oti.

But is there any truth in the claims made by the drivers? What is wrong with the condition of the road?

Guide to outdated road planning

The Road Design Guide of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA RDG) is about 3 decades old.

The document, published as a draft in 1991, should be revised from time to time on the basis of observations and criticisms from stakeholders.

However, no update was carried out as of October 2021.

According to reports, designers who carry out projects for the Ministry of Roads and Highways, and in-house designers of the Ghana Highway Authority, including in Ghana, are increasingly using different manuals for planning highways.

As a result of this motorway design in Ghana, it has become more difficult to ensure a uniform and uniform design of the trunk road network.

According to the New York State Highway Design 2015, a Road Design Guide fulfills the following purposes:

First, it provides design criteria, requirements, and guidance on current freeway design methods and guidelines. This ensures consistency in the application of design practices. Secondly, it ensures a minimum level of safety and comfort for road users and, finally, it offers great advantages in coordinating professional practice and ensuring an adequate level of safety.

The GHA Road Design Guide was compiled according to Ghanaian knowledge and practice-based standards.

Some of its components have been adopted from standards in countries such as Malawi, Japan, the UK and the USA.

A civil engineer, Duah, Paul Yaw Adanse-Pippim, as part of his assessment of the road planning guide, concluded that the guide did not meet some of the geometric design requirements for modern highways and urban roads.

“Because of its shortcomings, highway designers in Ghana use other standards, including the Green Paper, AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, and the Ugandan Geometric Design Manual, to name a few, as references for geometric design,” he stated .

Heavy traffic

According to a 2012 report on the stages of development of Ghana’s trunk and urban road network, an urban area in Ghana is defined as any settlement inhabited by 5,000 or more people.

The research found that between 1948 and 2000, the number of urban areas in Ghana increased from 41 to 364.

Increasing rural-to-urban migration, the growth of cities and towns, and increasing life expectancy have been associated with it.

According to the Ministry of Roads and Highways, the vehicle population in Ghana increased from 511,755 in 2000 to 1,952,564 in 2020.

Data source: DVLA, 2016

Increasing settlements along highways mean an enormous volume of traffic and thus an increased need for traffic and conflict management structures with regard to safety and economy.

When the truck is long: Ghana's obsolete streets
The big trucks need a lot of space to negotiate the curve, so they use the exclusive right-hand lane

First, let’s take a look at the road that leads to the Anloga junction.

The road has three lanes: the exclusive left lane that leads to a new road to Ahodwo.

The right lane that leads to the airport roundabout and the middle lane or that leads to Afful Nkwanta to Adum.

Engineer Edmund Kwasi Debrah is from the Building and Road Research Institute.

He observes that if long trucks were offered to use the only right-hand lane, they would have to switch to the middle lane or throughput in order to successfully turn into the airport lane.

“Because the trucks need a lot of space before cornering, they have to use the middle lane to get freely into the airport lane.

“When these long articulated lorries approach the Anloga junction to the airport lane, they cannot use the exclusively right-hand lane for negotiations,” he noted.

A quantity appraiser for the road construction company MMANEB Company Limited would agree with Ing Debrah no less.

“When you drive through a curve, you need a lot of space. If not, the cars will fall, ”he said.

Engineer no. Adanse-Pippim notes that the Road Design Guide deals with the subject of curves per kilometer tacitly and thus omits an important aspect of road safety.

The researcher considers it necessary, among other things, to include the number of curves per kilometer and the widening of the lanes.

“The GHA RDG takes traffic characteristics into account when determining climbing lanes, exclusive turning lanes, storage lane lengths, intersection turning radii, lane widening in curve sections. For example, a proportion of larger vehicles of over 20% is justified for the inclusion of a climbing track.

“The GHA RDG also shows how different sizes of designer vehicles should be used as controls for the width composition, the widening of the curve section, the vertical slope, the visibility, the clearance and the design of the intersection.

“Here too, the guide recommends widening curve sections for roads with a high proportion of large vehicles, although it does not specify what constitutes a ‘high proportion of large vehicles’,” he noted.

The long-awaited transfer

Mr. Kwarteng believes that an interchange is an efficient and safe way to minimize the conflicts that arise from crossing roads at high speed and with heavy traffic.

“I think it’s time to build the hub,” he recommended.

When the truck is long: Ghana's obsolete streets
Anthony Kwarteng believes an overpass like the Pokuase Junction will reduce accidents at the junction

An overpass at the Anloga junction has been on the drawing board for some time.

The Urban Roads has indicated that the project will start in the coming months.

Until then, Simbiat Wiredu, the regional director of the Ashanti National Road Safety Commission, has advised commuters and motorists “to take extreme care to navigate the Anloga intersection,” which has become a death trap.

In 2019, the Ministry of Roads and Highways published the Low-Traffic Roads document, but high-traffic roads are also vital.

It has become important to consistently revise many parts of the guide to ensure its suitability for modern highway designs in Ghana.

This is very important for the safety of motorists and pedestrians in the country.


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