The Teshie road culvert which claimed the life of Dr Aya Hayfron following heavy rains on Monday was too small to contain the amount of water that flowed through it during the downpour, an expert has revealed.
Wise Ametefe, an engineer and Registrar at the Engineering Council Ghana, said constructors of the culvert should have known that the size would have caused problems as the two major streams that flow through it easily overflow during heavy rains.
“That culvert as it is now is grossly inadequate to convey the flow that is coming from upstream. It needs to be rebuilt to an appropriate size,” he told host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Daniel Dadzie.
The Kpeshie Lagoon lies underneath the culvert
He explained that the culvert that was constructed over the Kpeshie Lagoon serves as a channel for two major streams – the Nabrajor and Korjor .
The latter which holds larger volumes holds up water coming from the Nabrajor during floods, causing a spillage that covers the road making it unmotorable.
“So when that happens, then it means that anyone coming along the bush road will not even see the culvert,” he stated.
Dr Aya Hayfron was swept away by flood waters as she drove over the bridge
The death of Dr Aya Hayfron has sparked anger and fresh debate on the nature of Ghana’s road infrastructure and perennial flooding Accra experiences every year.
The young doctor was driving home on Monday evening during a heavy downpour when her car was swept away by floods on the Teshie Bridge, which has claimed many lives in recent years as a result of flooding.
Efforts to rescue her from the Hyundai Elantra where she drowned failed as raging flood waters took over the bridge. Her body was found along the Kpeshie Lagoon by some fishermen on Wednesday after her husband’s pleaded to help locate the 32-year-old mother.
Dr Hayfron's car was recovered on Wednesday after her husband's plea for help
Mr Ametefe said a simple compliance with the regulations would have prevented the heartbreaking incident because the constructors of the road should have taken into consideration the increasing development along the area.
“Because when you are planning for a culvert, you have to look at what is going to be the land use plan in a certain number of years and sometimes these things are not taken [into consideration],” he said.
Dr Hayfron's husband, Bernard Kofi Agyei Oppong could not contain the pain
He also said the indiscriminate development of the areas along watercourses in Accra as one of the reasons for the perennial flooding.
“When we are building upstream of any water body, we change the land use of that area: that is, we clear the trees and then we put up houses and put pavement in our houses and so we allow heavier rainfall concentration.
“Before the land was developed there were trees and these trees tend to delay the runoff downstream so you don’t see a lot of flows, because, the trees delays the flow.”
But if there were enough trees to delay the flow, a small culvert could have contained the flow of water, even in an extreme rainy situation, Mr Ametefe explained.