Faded road markings – Danger in waiting

Faded road line markings and the absence of reflectors on most roads within major metropolises of the country continue to pose a grave danger to drivers and other road users.
Road markings are the primary signs and signals for drivers as they guide and warn them on the road. Clearly marked roads allow drivers to follow road regulations accurately.



Drivers who understand the difference between solid and broken white lines know when to stay in their lane or when it is alright to overtake another vehicle.

Also, well-marked roads help decrease the risk of night-related driving accidents.

However, the Daily Graphic has observed that the markings on many roads within Greater Accra, Tema, Greater Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale are faded and mostly invisible to road users, especially at night when they were expected to guide motorists.

On February 16, last year, the Daily Graphic carried on its front page a story headlined “Faded markings pose threat to road users,” in which it was observed that maintenance of road line markings across the country had been poor.



At the time, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Isaac Agyei Kwakye, blamed the situation on the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it had brought financial constraints to the operations of the ministry.

A follow-up to the issue shows very little improvement, a situation that has been described as worrying by road users in these areas.

Work to resume soon However, the Ministry of Roads and Highways has allayed fears, assuring the public that the re-marking of the faded lines on roads which is usually undertaken every two years, will commence soon.

The Greater Accra Regional Director of Urban Roads, Adwoa Duku, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the cost estimates for the exercise had already been submitted for approval.


Situation

In Accra, the line markings are faded on roads around Makola and the Central Business District, known as CMB, Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, Ring Road Central, Osu, Kaneshie, Awudome Estate, Teshie, Nungua, Dansoman, Achimota, Adabraka and Ridge, were mostly faded while some of the roads observed had no markings at all.

For instance, the newly constructed road from La through Teshie, along the beach, has no markings at all.

A frequent user of the road, Shirley Boye, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that although the road had been significantly expanded, the line markings were absent.



“There are no demarcations so people are driving anyhow and I think that is bad because it can cause accidents,” she said.

Life span



Reacting to why the lines were faded, Ms Duku explained that the lifespan for line markings was two years and were, therefore, to be remarked after two years of application to improve its visibility.

“As road markings mainly control road users and where they should be, it is very important that they are visible at all times,” she noted.

She said the scheduled remarking exercise will improve visibility and limit danger on roads.

However, she said most of the newly asphalted roads were marked, as the marking was already part of the running contract.

Material

Ms Duku said the ministry would use the thermoplastic road marking paint, which is highly favoured because it was hard-wearing and reflective.

“This property makes it ideal for high traffic roads and highways. It is applied to the road surface after heating to a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius. For extra surface friction and reflectivity, glass beads and fillers are often added to the paint to improve safety on the road,” she added.

58 danger spots in Tema

The absence of road markings or zebra crossing points on various roads has been classified as a major contributor to road fatalities.

According to the Tema MTTD, it had identified 58 pedestrian crossings that had faded markings and thus posed threat to road users.

Sergeant Richard Timinka of the Tema MTTD, also expressing concern about the situation, said: “The MTTD has identified about 58 pedestrian crossings that have no markings or where there are, they are faded due to the rains and other human activities.”

Sergeant Timinka thus urged road management authorities to treat the issue as a matter of urgency to avert danger.

“There are schools close to some of the highways and the absence or faded road markings or zebra crossing points make it difficult for children to cross the road.

Bare roads in Kumasi

The Garden City of Ghana has not been spared this danger as faded markings on the road welcome people entering Kumasi from Accra. The Kumasi-Accra Highway, though a dual carriage, have no markings.

Almost all the road markings in the Kumasi Metropolis that guide motorists and pedestrians on major high streets and link roads have faded completely or are on the brink of doing so.

Among the prominent places where road markings have faded, causing much discomfort and danger to road users in the Kumasi Metropolis, are the major roundabouts at Santasi, Ahodwo, Suame and the Labour roundabout at Asafo.

Also, the yellow markings at traffic lights, intersections and areas earmarked as crossings have also faded.

Other road markings on the major high streets that link Patasi through the Santasi roundabout to the KATH roundabout to Kejetia have also faded, just like the one that links the PatasiAsokwa high street.

The road markings in and around the Central Business District of Adum and the various suburbs in the metropolis that ensure that all road users strictly operate within the confines of their lanes or are warned of dangers ahead are missing.

Both drivers and pedestrians have complained about the danger the situation poses.

“The absence of road markings on the major high streets and link roads is very disturbing because it makes driving a bit difficult, as pedestrians cross with little caution and drivers always have to be on the lookout for them,” Yaw Mensah Sebe, a commercial driver on the Kumasi-Konongo route, said.

“This faded road markings have been a problem since 2013 and in 2022, we are still talking about it. It is a bother and some of us have seen people being knocked down by vehicles because there are no markings and people cross the roads at wrong places while some drivers also try to overtake at wrong places,” Maame Akua Serwaa, a breadseller at Oforikrom Junction, also said.

Big challenge in SekondiTakoradi

From Sekondi-Takoradi, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu reports that road markings in the twin-city of SekondiTakoradi remains one of the most challenging issues for road users in the metropolis as vehicular traffic have more than doubled.

This is as a result of the nakedness of the road as large stretches of the road are left unmarked and areas that have been marked are completely faded.

After an hour’s drive through the metropolis, it was observed that road markings and traffic signs or road signs erected at the side of roads to provide information to road users were also missing along many parts of the stretch.

Even though many roads in the metropolis have seen some asphaltic overlay, the contractors are yet to put finishing touches to it.

Some parts of the metropolis and the adjoining municipalities and districts are no different.

Tamale: new roads marked, old roads not

From Tamale, Mohammed Fugu reports that aside from the few newly constructed roads in the Tamale Metropolis, most of the access roads have faded markings.

A number of the link roads also have faded markings, a situation which is creating a lot of inconvenience for motorists and other road users.

During a tour of parts of the metropolis, it was observed that road markings such as the longitudinal pavement markings, no-passing zones, raised pavement markings (Rpm), stop and yield lines, crosswalks pavement markings and roundabout pavement markings were all faded on a number of roads.

Most affected roads included parts of the Tamale-Kumasi Highway, sections of the Tamale-Bolgatanga Highway, Aboabo-Nyohini road and the Picorna to Zogbeli-Lamakara link road, among others.

However, it was observed that a few sections of the newly constructed roads had visible markings.

For instance, the newly constructed Tamale Interchange is beautifully designed with all the required road signs, making it safe for road users.

Concerns

A taxi driver, Nuhu Awal, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the absence of the road markings on the major roads in the metropolis was creating some inconvenience to road users.

He said the absence of the markings made driving inconvenient and therefore called on the Department of Urban Roads to expedite action on making road markings visible, especially zebra crossings, for the safety of pedestrians.

A resident of the area, Amadu Zakiu, told the Daily Graphic that: “Most of the drivers will never stop for a pedestrian to cross because the zebra crossing is not there”.

“For now, if you are using the road and you don’t take care some of the drivers will knock you down because the markings are not there to direct them,” he said.

When contacted, the Northern Regional Director of Urban Roads, Kwasi Darko, said the department was having a challenge in getting contractors with the expertise in the Northern Region to engage them to work on the road markings and signs.

“We are having difficulty getting the contractors with the expertise to award them such contracts. It is a specialised area and the contractors in the region seem not to have an interest in it.

Those with the expertise are in the South but they don’t want to come to the North,” he said.

Overlooked

Meanwhile, the Director of Communications at the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), Kwame Attuahene, told the Daily Graphic that the authority had also noticed with displeasure the situation, which posed a danger to road users.

He said it was part of the plan of the authority to wage a campaign on proper maintenance of all street markings across the country.

While road markings may be overlooked from time to time when it comes to the top features that contribute to safety, a road safety expert, Terry Ohene Davidson, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that they are as important as signs, with longitudinal markings informing and warning road users of situations that will require them to take some form of action.

“The importance of road markings within the Ghanaian context may even be more critical than in other countries for two reasons: we lack a safe and reliable rail transport system for passengers and we have an alarmingly high road accident rate,” Mr Davidson said.

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