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I have observed with shock the rate of traffic congestion on almost all major and minor roads in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA).
This leaves me with the following questions;
1. Where does your ministry fit in in the increment of traffic congestion around the GBA?
2. What plans are in place to address the problems?
3. How soon can the problems be address?
About five years ago, the only time one encounters mild traffic congestion is during rush hours in the morning between 8-9am and in the evening between 6-7pm, and only in strategic roads like Bertil Harding Highway, Sukuta-West Field Road, West Field-Brikama Highway and the Kairaba Avenue Road.
Today, except the Kairaba Avenue Road, the other roads aren’t only congested during rush hours. There is always heavy traffic along these roads from 7am-12pm and from 2pm-8pm.
These heavy traffics are as a result of many factors.
One may attribute this to the increase number of cars.
However, tight, bad and poorly constructed roads with less space to move are the major causes of the daily traffic congestion as well as lack of feeder roads.
Distances that should have taken you less than 10mins, now take over 40mins or more.
Due to this, most taxi drivers would rather park their cars than waste fuel thus resulting in lack of transport or the hike in taxi fares.
There is need for massive road expansion along these major roads but above all, the feeder roads must be constructed to a pliable state.
99% of the feeder roads that connect to these major roads are in deplorable state with potholes and river-like ponds where cars swim through to cross. As a result, nost of drivers only ply the main roads thus increasing congestion.
The Gambia is on the verge of seeing road and infrastructural transformation and development, thanks to the Organization of Islamic Conference. This is an opportunity we must not miss or squander.
I heard about plans to transforming the Bertil Harding Highway into dual-carriage road as well as the expansion and construction of over 20 roads.
Well, the planners (civil engineers) must envision The Gambia in 30-50years. Think of having at least two if not three high-speed roads. The dual-carriage road might be as tight as all major roads we have today in the coming 10 years because the population will surely surge in numbers as a result of such expansion.
In fact, why not two underpasses or flyovers at strategic locations where traffic is highly congested.
Maybe at the roundabout at Brusubi, Traffic Light at Fajara, West Field and at almost all traffic lights to ease the congestion.
Please do not forget cycle tracks and walkways which could be used by cyclists and pedestrians. With very good tracks and walkways, we could improve the health of our people because some will chose to walk for health or cycle to work and eventually reduce the demand on cars thus easing traffic congestion.
Of recent, you’ve seen our communities flood due to bad drainage systems. Fix it while fixing the roads.
We cannot continue to think small because our population and economy is growing rapidly and the expectation is that many more will own cars in coming years.
For a productive economy, good roads are essential.
A concerned commuter