Road traffic crashes on the Konongo-Kumasi highway - two years after reconstruction

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Reconstruction of the 42Km Konongo–Odumase-Kumasi road began in December 2003 and was fully completed in November 2007. It undoubtedly incorporated one of the most comprehensive and elaborate road safety measures in Ghana, aimed at treatment of known accident black spots and other accident prone locations to reduce road traffic crashes (accidents) on this highway. The motivation for this study was from a personal desire to ascertain data-wise the effectiveness or otherwise of the measures implemented. The study, contrary to public perception, shows that the number of road traffic crashes is on the increase for all indicators except pedestrian fatalities. Analyzing crash records from 1999 to 2009, a total of 116 crashes were recorded in 2003, the last year before commencement of construction, whereas the year 2009 recorded a total of 148 crashes, representing 27% increase two years after construction completion. Total casualties for the year 2009 indicated a 53% increase over that for 2003, resulting in a 54% increase in fatalities. Hit-pedestrian crashes continue to dominate collision types. Post-construction records give 114 hit-pedestrian crashes of which 75 were fatal over the two year period. This, however, considered on yearly terms represents 7% and 17% reduction respectively over the pre-construction period. Resulting hit-pedestrian deaths reduced from 54% of all deaths during the pre-construction period to 51% during post-construction period. The study also shows that the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) category now leads vehicle type involvement in fatal crashes with 22 fatal crashes (31%) of the 72 recorded within the two year post-construction period, even though it contributes just 5% to 9% of current vehicular traffic. The bus category held this position during the five year pre-construction period with 41% of all 186 fatal crashes. Furthermore, the minibus category which was not involved in any fatal crash during pre-construction period, made an entry during the four year construction period with 7% of fatal crash involvement, and increased its share to 11% for the post construction period. In general, the rural Konongo-Ejisu section of the highway with an annual traffic growth rate of about 9.8%, showed a 16% reduction in traffic crash rate relative to pre-construction rate. The peri-urban Ejisu-Kumasi section with an annual traffic growth rate of about 4.5%, on the other hand showed an increase of 24%. Spot speed measurements conducted within a typical town within the rural section of the highway showed speeds are within posted limits. Maintenance of traffic calming devices in addition to continual safety evaluation and remediation is strongly advised.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Award of the Degree of Master of Science.