At least some 168 poles mounted on the Accra-Tema motorway have no functioning lights, Myjoyonline.com can report.
This makes the 19-kilometre stretch road one of the most dangerous to travel on during dark hours because the visibility of motorists is limited to how far their vehicle lights can reach.
This came to light when the Super Morning Show on Joy FM’s team members, host Daniel Dadzie and his producers, Papayaw Asare and Samuel Odame, took a trip on the country’s foremost expressway as part of a project to bring attention to lighting the highways, which is a major safety concern to road users.
The only point where the poles are lit is about 200 metres before the exit at the Tema roundabout. At 9:04 pm Monday, April 30, the SMS team approached a driver who poured out his frustration.
The Accra-Tema motorway was built in 1964 under Kwame Nkrumah’s government to link Tema to the national capital. In 2017, the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) estimated that between 57,000 and 89,000 vehicles use the highway daily.
However, poor illumination has remained a major problem.
In 2002, the government abandoned its plan to light up the motorway to coincide with the country’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations following a series of challenges including cable thefts, which delayed its completion. The problem led to plain-clothed policemen patrolling the motorway.
The average electricity consumer who uses up to 50 units of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of power is taxed an amount of GHp42 on street lights. Non-residential customers are also taxed GH¢1.02p on the same unit of power consumed.
However, most streets and major highways connecting cities have remained dark, leading to questions over the justification of taxes collected for street lights that are non-existent.
Every year, at least some 2,000 lives are lost across the country due to crashes on the road, according to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC).