When you branch off from the main Adenta-Dodowa highway onto the Amrahia-Katamanso road, you get a sudden feeling that you’re in a new world.
New and old buildings wrapped in films of red dust are the first to greet you.
A tiny colony of potholes at the turn grows into a galaxy of gullies that stretches into the horizon. The dirty road has everything available to make your driving experience painfully uncomfortable.
Less than a hundred meters’ ride, a heap of gravel sits next to a tiny bridge. At night, this mini-mountain blurs into the darkness and you need a strong headlamp to spot it.
The first time I used the road was in 2017 when I had to acquire a property for my new family.
I could tell at a glance that the people living along the road were suffering. Big tipper and articulated trucks threw tonnes of dust into the air as their tires wobbled along the gullies-riddled stretch. Indeed, such vehicles, unlike the Sedan I was driving, were kings because they could better manage the potholes.
On a rainy day, the dust turns into mud and pedestrians look the most sorrowful.
My new home would be less than a kilometer from the main road but it took close to ten minutes to get there. Every minute of driving felt like an hour’s ride on a faulty rollercoaster – nerve-racking, bone-shaking!
I later discovered that this is the main road that leads to the community of Katamanso close to which a major data centre is being built. The road is also the shortest link between Madina, a major market centre, and Ashaiman near Tema.
As a journalist, I felt I owed the people in the community a responsibility to shine a light on the situation. That was what drove me in July 2019 to do the story about the roads in the area.
About three kilometers’ drive from the Amrahia end of the road is a big estate with 5,000 homes. The settlement has attracted hordes of mostly middle class workers who ply the road daily.
Among all the various tales of how their terrible road was affecting them, the story that hit me the hardest was the riveting account of Elsie, the woman who lost two pregnancies, both after driving on the road.
Each of her pregnancies was declared high-risk by her doctors. And after two miscarriages, Elsie was advised to avoid the road and stay in town.
At the time of our interview, Elsie carried a new baby, thanks to her doctor’s advice.
“It’s not anything that I’d wish on anybody. And to go through it two times, I can’t describe it. It’s really, really bad. You have to drive on it yourself. It’s a short distance but it takes about 15 minutes just to cross it otherwise your car will always be at the mechanic,” she said.
There were other stories I heard about robberies – armed robberies – inside the community and along the road.
Under the cover of darkness, the robbers hide in the bushes and behind the heaps of gravel and attack the slowly moving vehicles.
“We can’t all live in the East Legons and Trassacos so if we’re here, please just give us a good road to use,” Sly, another resident lamented.
But in all this, it appears the contractor on the project Davem Construction Limited, is the entity taking the most heat. Its managers claim the company is still awaiting funds from the government to be able to finish the work.
The MCE of Adenta, Daniel Alexander Nii-Noi Adumuah, told the Super Morning Show on Thursday that the funds would be released “soon” but also hinted that he could not put a “timeline to the word soon.