THERE is news on the air. The Ministry of Infrastructure has reassured Tanzanians through the parliament that flyovers are on the way. It was indicated that there is already an agreement in place between Japan and Tanzania to co-finance the first part of the flyover of which Japan will fund the construction project and the Tanzanian government will take care of the necessary preliminary and compensation costs. So, we are set out to hear about irregularities of past similar compensation activities and complaints about meagre compensation amounts. Anyway, let’s not put the cart before the horse!
Meanwhile, I see a new ground-road connecting Jangwani and Ubungo in Dar es Salaam, fast going to completion. Hopes of reduction of traffic jams are high amongst drivers and road users. Those who want to fly on land are servicing their vehicles ready for the racing acts. And those of us who concern ourselves with safety and lives of citizens are looking at it from a different angle. We’re wondering if this isn’t going to be yet another avenue of avoidable road accidents or cause of injuries to people and reckless loss of lives.
The doubts, of course, are a result of our experiences of the past. We normally get so excited with such projects. But soon our excitement meets great disappointment in either design or function of the project.
I have, in the pat, discussed, for instance the road to Bagamoyo through Mbezi Beach, which actually still leaves a lot to be desired as a highway. The Manzese Bridge is also a case in point when measuring the functionality of it as an infrastructure.
Kilwa road is a good job by this administration. However, somebody, quite surprisingly, forgot to provide for spaces to make right turns – crossing over to the other side of the road for people coming from the byways and minor streets between the round-abouts on sections of the road.
Unless they travel a very long way to a round-about so they can take their proper routes, road users can’t make a turn from one side of the road to the other. Misuse is, therefore, the only option unknowingly provided. Drivers use their creativity and start using the pedestrian’s spaces adjacent to the zebra-crossing to make u-turns and right turns. This practice could be stopped by proper design and good adherence to traffic rules.
The three lanes on Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road between Mwenge and Morocco are also not any less confusing. It is never clear who has the right-of-way on those middle lanes despite clear direction arrows. Likewise, if a driver wants to make a right turn, the driver finds himself/herself in dilemma of whether to use the middle lane as a turning lane or leave it alone as a continuous lane.
It is more confusing when two vehicles are at one turning point coming from opposite directions and both the drivers want to make a right turn. This has, therefore, caused more traffic jams. Due to growth of population and expansion of road users we definitely need to be keen in both design and maintenance of these structures.
Putting up a structure is one thing. Regular maintenance of the same is completely another thing. Proper and legitimate use of it is yet another thing. Part of the implementation of these things is enforcement of traffic rules and different laws. I’m on the opinion that as we make progress in putting up these projects, we also need to be keen as users and put up clear road signs.
The government should also collaborate with the driving schools to enhance their training especially on safety and adherence to traffic regulations. Ways should be established to punish reckless users of our roads. Citizens should be encouraged to report misuse of our infrastructures.
Through insurance scheme, careful drivers should rewarded by significant dropping insurance costs and reckless drivers be punished and eventually be put out of the road.