The Greater Accra Regional Director of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Mr Lawrence L.
Lamptey, has described the annual mud sliding at Weija in Accra near the Kasoa tollbooth as a disaster waiting to happen.
He told the Daily Graphic that even though frequent desilting of the area each time it rained had become expensive, it was not the major problem.
“We are sitting on a time bomb; that whole place can slide onto the road if nothing is urgently done to halt developments and improve the greenery.
“Uncontrolled developments on the hill have cleared the vegetation cover which hitherto allowed the water to flow gently into drains we constructed some years ago,” he said.
Reclaim project Mr Lamptey, who spoke to the Daily Graphic after a visit to the area to stop an ongoing development in the catchment area of the Densu River, hinted of a project being initiated by his outfit to reclaim the exposed vegetation to mitigate the impact of the harm caused.
The project, which he said was still at a preparatory stage, would involve the construction of stairs on the exposed slope to allow rain water to flow gently into a drainage system.
He expressed optimism that such a project would effectively deal with the current mudslide challenge along that road.
Arrest During the visit by officials of the GHA and personnel from the National Security SWAT Team on Thursday, June 25, the developer, the Chief of Ngleshie Lafa, Nii Ayi Okufuobour I, and two others were arrested, cautioned to stop the development and freed that same day.
When questioned during the operation led by the Commander of the SWAT Team, Deputy Superintendent of Police Samuel Kojo Azugu, about why they were encroaching on the Densu River, Nii Okufuobour said: “This place is my property so I am doing a washing bay for the area.
” He said it was only when the Weija Dam was spilled that there was a flood in the area, otherwise there was no issue with flooding.
“Weija Dam, if they open it then the water floods, but we don’t have any flood issues here.
They open the river and the river is disturbing us, but I swear with my stool and everything, this place belongs to my mother and recently they came to take half of the land and I told my mother to leave it,” he said.
The Daily Graphic first reported on the development in the Densu River’s catchment area on June 12 after a downpour with the headline: “Building on watercourses: Human activities cause Accra floods.
” GHA’s reaction Reacting to the recent filling of the Densu River with laterite to create access to a newly built property by Nii Okufuobour at Tetegu, a community in the Ga South District of the Greater Accra Region, which caused severe flooding of the area, Mr Lamptey explained that such illegal developments negatively affected not just the GHA’s routine maintenance programmes but the environment.
The GHA is responsible for developing and maintaining the country’s trunk roads.
Mr Lamptey stated that the authority was vested with powers to halt all such developments and advised developers to always seek permits from the GHA and the district assemblies responsible for their area prior to the commencement of their projects.
Concerning the Tetegu development, Mr Lamptey said the developer ignored its initial warning letter issued and posted on his property to stop work.
“Fortunately, the Ga South Assembly has been very supportive in our effort to deal with this particular case,” he said.
Stay off Mr Lawrence advised developers, especially those along the Mallam junction to Kasoa highway, to stay off the GHA’s road reservation.
He said the GHA had a 45-metre road reservation on both sides of its dual carriageways on all its corridors for roads designated as national roads.
It, however, reserves 30 metres on each side of its dual carriageways for inter-regional highways.
“Some people are developing properties and sometimes in a bid to create access to such properties, they encroach on our reservation,” he noted.
Letter to developer The letter to the developer dated June 3, 2020 was titled: “Unauthorised Development and Other Activities on the Accra-Kasoa Road (N1) and its Right of Way (RoW) at Tetegu near the River Densu.
” It stated in part: “We have observed a series of illegal construction activities along the Accra-Kasoa road (N1) and encroachment into the Road Reservation/Right of Way (RoW) at Tetegu, as well as the depositing of fill material in the river at the said location.
“Presently, your activities are creating premature deterioration of the road shoulder which would lead to total pavement failure of the highway at this location, as well as prevent the flow of runoff water from the roadway into the ditches and river.
“Additionally, by filling the low-lying water way with soil material, you are preventing the free flow of the river body which will lead to spillage onto the N1.
“The spillage will submerge the N1 and hence lead to flooding of the whole area with associated destruction of lives and property.
“These activities, despite being illegal and unauthorised, are also a danger to the travelling public, motorists, as well as a bother to the road agencies.
“Your actions contravene the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (L.
2180), Section 113, as well as the Ghana Highway Authority Act 540, Clause 15(1)(b) which states that, “No person shall, without the written permission of the Ghana Highway Authority, construct an access road to link a trunk road,” as well as 15(3) which also indicates the penalties for contravening Clause 15(1).
“You are, therefore, to stop all construction activities within the road reservation and water body immediately.
“You are also to demolish and dispose of all construction materials from the road reservation and water body within 14 days from the date of this letter.
“Your failure to undertake these activities within the road reservation will compel the Ghana Highway Authority to execute the activities and surcharge you for the cost in addition to the penalties imposed by L.
I 2180 and GHA Act 540 Clause 15(3).