Mr Samuel Antobam, the Coordinator of the Ghana Highways Authority Axle Load Control Programme, has called for strict enforcement of the Axle Load regulations to help reduce overloading and improve the life span of the country’s road network.
He said the enforcement of the programme would, in addition, reduce road traffic crashes, improve upon road safety and road maintenance cost.
Mr Antobam said this at a Day’s Regional Workshop on the “Enforcement of Axle Load Control Under Road Traffic Regulation, 2012(LI 2180) and UEMOA Regulation 14,” for stakeholders in the Western Region.
The capacity building workshop, organised by the Ghana Highways Authority, was attended by representatives from the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Freight Forwarders, National Road Safety Commission and Motor Transport and Traffic Department.
It was on the theme: “Save our roads, don’t overload.”
Mr Antobam said the disregard for the Axle load limits by many truck drivers had led to the untimely deterioration and needless rehabilitation of the country’s road network.
The Axle load of a vehicle is the total weight felt by the roadway for all wheels connected to a given axle.
Mr Antobam said to attain an acceptable level of road transport efficiency, maintenance and management of road infrastructure, the level of Axle overloading must be controlled.
He said the Axle Load Control Programme seeks to reduce overloading on roads, improve the life span of the road network and reduce road traffic crashes.
“Adhering to the axle load limit will forestall the premature failure of our highways and therefore save the country the huge sums of money that are applied annually for the rehabilitation of roads”.
Ghana has reviewed its axle load limit from 10 tonnes to the current 11.5 tonnes to conform to the axle load limit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
He explained that if not for the COVID -19 pandemic, the Axle Load Control Programme would have been implemented by September this year, adding that the period would, however, be used to educate the relevant stakeholders on the Programme.
The Coordinator said the axle load control programme was supported by a regulation and that penalties ranging between 35 and 50 units or a custodial sentence of three months could be imposed on anyone who overloads his axle.
Mr Antobam said, as part of measures to reduce the overloading menace, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, has constructed more than 14 permanent axle-load weighing stations across the country and hinted that similar facilities would be constructed at border towns in the country.
He said at such stations drivers who overload their axles were made to shed off their load and in addition pay a penalty.
Some of the stations are the Accra-Tema motorway station, Tema-Akosombo-Afienya-Akatsi station on the Tema Aflao road, the Boankra station on the Accra -Kumasi corridor, the Akom one on the Accra -Kumasi -Techiman road and the Asuoyeboa station on the Kumasi-Sunyani road.
Others are the Asokwa station on the Anwiankwanta-Yamoransa junction, the Elmina station on the Accra-Takoradi road, and the Agona-Nkwanta station on the Takoradi -Elubo stretch.
The rest are the Bogoso station on the Tarkwa-Ayanfuri road, the Sefwi-Bekwai station on the Diaso-Sefwi-Bekwai road, the Mim station on the Goaso-Akyeremasu road, the Yapei station on the Kintampo -Tamale road, Jema station in the Bono Region and the Bolgatanga station on the Tamale- Bolgatanga road.
Alhaji Yakubu Abdullah, a Hualage Operator, underscored the important role drivers play in the Axle Load Control Programme and gave the assurance that all drivers, under his organization, would abide by the rules and regulations pertaining to the Programme.
He said due to the overloading of trucks, some drivers had developed stroke and other life-threatening ailments.
The participants were taken through Axle Load Control Limit and Regulation No.14, the role of Drivers/transporter in Axle Load Control and the role of the Police in Axle Load Control.