Driving beneath the monumental four-tier stack Pokuase Interchange at night, the once-gleaming symbol of modernity is marred by the attention-seeking and vision-impairing twinkling of faulty streetlights. Costing USD 94 million, the barely two-year-old infrastructure now serves as a stark reminder of Ghana’s poor maintenance culture, echoing a nationwide issue that threatens the longevity of its developmental achievements.
The irony of the Pokuase Interchange’s deteriorating state is emphasized by its proximity to an ongoing expansion Accra-Nsawam Road project, showcasing a stark contrast in Ghana’s developmental journey. The nation, heralded for its significant infrastructure achievements in West Africa, continues to grapple with the challenge of sustaining these milestones.
Ghana has made strides in road network enhancement since 2017 till date, investing approximately GH¢16 billion, achieving the most extensive kilometers of roads and interchanges in its history.
“Expanded and improved the road network by investing about GH¢16 billion. Recording the most kilometers of roads and interchanges done in our history. Invested the most in the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of major road networks across the country.”Ken Ofori Atta, Finance Minster
However, the Pokuase Interchange’s rapid deterioration illustrates the precarious nature of the country’s progress. The government’s commitment to modernization, reflected in completed projects like the Tamale Interchange and ongoing endeavors such as the Flyover on the Accra-Tema Motorway, is undermined by a persistent issue: poor maintenance culture.
Barely two years after its inauguration, the Pokuase Interchange, a critical transportation hub on the outskirts of Accra, reveals Ghana’s vulnerability in preserving its infrastructure. Faulty streetlights, a basic yet crucial element, plunge the once well-lit interchange into darkness, compromising safety and inviting accidents and criminal activities.
The root of Ghana’s maintenance challenges lies in insufficient budgetary allocations, inadequate training of personnel, and the absence of a comprehensive maintenance strategy. While the initial investment in construction is substantial, neglecting maintenance erodes the long-term benefits, jeopardizing citizens’ safety and eroding public confidence in the government’s ability to sustain development.
Addressing this issue demands a paradigm shift. Ghana must allocate adequate funds for maintenance in annual budgets, prioritize training and equipping maintenance personnel, and implement a comprehensive maintenance plan with regular inspections and prompt repairs. The urgency is evident, and the solution lies in swift responsiveness to faulty developments.
Professor Francis Afuka, a researcher at the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), emphasizes that a good maintenance culture is crucial for a sustainable road system.
“As soon as cracks and minor potholes start developing, these things should be quickly patched because if they are not patched and then water seeps into the base of the road, serious potholes are developed over time.”Professor Francis Afuka, CSIR
The Pokuase Interchange, positioned at Pokuase Junction in Accra, Ghana, is an impressive four-level stack interchange connecting Nsawam Road to the George Walker Bush Highway.
As the largest interchange in West Africa, its current state serves as a poignant reminder that the true test of a nation’s progress lies not just in what it builds but in how well it maintains and sustains its achievements over time.
The call for immediate action resonates beyond Pokuase, challenging Ghana to prioritize maintenance culture for the sake of its infrastructure and the nation’s future.
Across the nation’s capital, street lights remain malfunctioning leaving some critical crossroads to the mercies and instincts of road users and others to the country’s few police officers to regulate.
The Assembly, District Officers, the Ghana Highways Authority and the Ministry of Roads should improve its operations to resolve the Ghana’s poor road maintenance.