Danger looms on Aburi-Accra road as rocks fall from cliff

Imminent disaster is lurking on the curvy Aburi section of the Accra-Aburi road on the Akwapim Ridge, as boulders perch precariously on one another, ready to fall, at the least disturbance, onto the Accra-bound section of the road.

Timely intervention by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) prevented what could have resulted in a tragic situation when the rocks began to fall unhindered onto the road some months ago.

After the contractors had cut through the mountainous stretch during the reconstruction of the road about seven years ago, the boulders acted as a retaining wall.

Unfortunately, they have now become a source of grave concern to motorists, some of whom told the Daily Graphic that they were very careful when approaching that side of the road because they could not determine when the boulders would give way.

The Akwapim South District Chief Executive, Mr Kwadwo Afari Djan, described the situation as alarming, stating that any move to halt the fall of the rocks to avoid disaster should be an urgent one.

As of now, the rocks had not caused any disaster, but “there is cause for alarm, judging by the way they are falling off the cliff,” he told the Daily Graphic. 

The Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has indicated that it is aware of the problem and has been working on the quiet to find a lasting solution to it. GHA to work on rocks

According to a Deputy Chief Executive of the GHA, Alhaji Kassim Nuhu, the authority has received proposals from three companies interested in re-engineering the rocks along that road to ensure the safety of the hundreds of motorists who use it daily.

He told the Daily Graphic that a month ago the authority placed an advertisement in the dailies inviting proposals from interested engineering and consultancy companies to work on the project.

He explained that although the GHA had a fair idea as to how to tackle the problem, it wanted the contribution of experienced companies with expertise in dealing with such rock-related problems.

Alhaji Nuhu stated that the GHA was currently reviewing the tenders for technically satisfactory proposals, after which one of the companies would be selected for the work.

Aburi road
The road, which also leads to the Peduase Lodge, is one of the two major routes to the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, and so there is a lot of traffic on it.

It is also about the only short route from Accra to the Aburi Botanical Gardens, which attracts a number of tourists daily.

Human activities such as stone mining, building on the cliff and the reconstruction of the road are said to have resulted in the current weakness in the rock formation.

Despite the perilous nature of the mountain, some people have made the rocks their gold mining area where they win some of the rocks and sell to make a living. Types of rock

The area is part of the Akwapim Fault.
Its name suggests the nature of the rocks — it is made up of weak sedimentary rocks that have undergone a series of alterations in millions of years.

The fault zone is a natural occurrence which has already caused the rocks to break into slides and pieces over the years but are held together by the vegetative cover and the natural compact nature of the rocks. 

Naturally, the rock is not as compact as the other rocks.

Sedimentary rocks are formed by the deposition of material on the earth’s surface and within bodies of water. 

Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles (detritus) to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution.

Particles that form a sedimentary rock by accumulation are called sediments.

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