People like me and thousands of others have no option but to use the Tetteh Quarshie interchange on a daily basis. For most of us, we are always going with the traffic. It is either the morning rush or the evening one. We are sadly caught in a neighborhood where our only route out to the rest of Accra is through a very callous bottleneck designed by a group of supposedly smart engineers who simply seemed to have failed in maximizing land, failed in considering the population growth of the areas beyond Tetteh Quarshie and failed in easing the congestion commuters had always been bedeviled with.
The issue of addressing congestion on our roads is one I am not competent enough to discuss at this point in time. However being a daily user of the interchange gives me the ‘vim’ to pour out my frustrations so someone may hear me and come to our collective aid.
If you are wondering how terrible the situation is, let me try paint the picture to you as simple as my non-engineer mind can: the go-slow builds up sometime from around the Mensvic Hotel at East Legon; its pretty normal to spend anything between 30 and 45 minutes between Mensvic Hotel and the traffic lights that branch off to the Airport just after the old Shangri La (it has a new name now I hear). Because the TQI is centrally located, traffic from Dzorwolu and beyond, Tema, Spintex and all the hoods around, Madina and Ashongman and the rest of them all feed into this creating the bottleneck that irks many of us so much. Yes there are traffic jams all over the world including Japan and the US but I am sure if they (the Japs and the Americans) had a massive piece of land like we did for TQI I am sure they would have done better considering the amount of traffic inflow into that area.
When I put out my frustrations on Facebook a few weeks back about where our brilliant engineers are after leaving us with the nightmare we call Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, Manasseh Azure Awuni, a journalist (one of the best we have in Ghana I dare say) commented that “there are brilliant engineers but no brilliant politicians to implement what the brilliant engineers will suggest. Like our education mess, the politicians always want to have their way even when the whole nation has a different say”. I would not want to get into the politics of how a road design meant to make life comfortable for motorists went berserk and turned into what we have now.
Komla Dumor (we all should know him) also added however that “years ago when I was on Joy FM I interviewed the engineers at the Transport Ministry about the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange—it was under construction at the time—they assured us all that the interchange would reduce traffic blah blah blah–years later all we get is excuses–oh we didn’t have the money–oh they changed the plan etc etc–plans are far advanced…same story”. Yet another pal added to the speculation; “on a more serious note, I also spoke to some engineers at the transport ministry and they confirmed that wasn’t the original design they had on board, but as usual our politicians had the final say hence our “beloved” bottleneck”.
I am not going to go into the politics on how the design changed, who changed it, why was it changed, when it was changed, and all that. What I care about now is what can we do to make life a wee bit comfortable for those of us who us the TQI? Come one people we do have smart engineers, some of whom work for NASA and all so it should not be too hard figuring out how to fix the mess we deliberately created.
Is anyone listening? I sure hope so.
My 1 pesewa, Ghana!