The importance of good street lighting is supported by many factors, the main one being safety.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of safety is accident prevention. Poor visibility is a major contributing factor to accidents, both because drivers cannot see where they are going and pedestrians have difficulty spotting oncoming traffic or roadside obstacles.
Another hazard that is compounded by poor lighting or lack thereof is criminal activity. Crimes such as muggings and burglaries are more common in poorly lit areas. The presence of adequate lighting acts both as a deterrent to criminals and also as an early warning system for potential victims.
The psychological effect of light is well known. People feel an increased sense of anxiety when it is dark. A well-lit area generally makes us feel safer.
Commercial establishments also benefit from good street lighting, as well-lit areas are safer and more welcoming to customers.
In order to have safer, more comfortable, convenient and sufficient circulation of vehicles and pedestrians at night, street or highway lighting is necessary along the road.
Despite this basic fact about streetlights, driving in some of the country’s major cities is more of a nightmare.
For example, driving at night on the Ayi Mensah-Peduase highway has become extremely dangerous for motorists and other road users, as many lampposts along the road malfunction.
There are 120 streetlights from the start of the five-kilometer road at Ayi Mensah to the end of the two-lane road at the Peduase Presidential Lodge in the Eastern Region. Sadly, only 35 were functional last week when the Daily Graphic press team visited the area.
To provide some background, the Ayi Mensah-Peduase section is part of National Highway Four (N4) which begins at the Tetteh-Quarshie interchange in Accra and passes through Adenta, Peduase, Aburi, Koforidua and Asokore to join the N6 – the Accra-Kumasi road — at Bunso in the Eastern Region.
Covering a distance of 110 kilometers (about 68 miles), the trunk road serves as an alternative route from Accra to Kumasi. Beyond the Peduase Presidential Lodge, the road leads to a number of major Eastern Region communities, markets, schools, and sights.
Interestingly, 35 functional lights are mainly on the stretch of the road from the presidential box to a popular landmark in Peduase, the Christian center Hephzibah, and its surroundings, which are well lit at night, obviously to protect the national and security facility.
The rest of the two-lane road to and from the Ayi Mensah toll is completely dark at night, posing a serious hazard to motorists and other road users due to poor visibility on the winding stretch.
The Daily Graphic finds the development not only worrying but also very serious, given the importance of this section for the whole road architecture of the country. It is also important to note that our President welcomes very important international visitors to the Peduase Lodge and therefore the safety of these VIPs cannot be taken for granted.
Like many other areas without street lights, we have observed that the authorities are quick to turn up the lights but do not care whether they are working or not.
Occasionally we see engineers working on the lights, but nothing happens when they leave because the lights never come on.
It has become necessary for the authorities to take this disturbing development seriously and ensure that the road is lined with functioning streetlights.
The Ghana Electricity Company and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies should be able to provide answers to questions regarding street lighting.