Drivers, commuters voice frustrations over traffic congestion

By Ismaila Sonko

Traffic congestion, picture credit Chronicle Gambia

July 14, 2021

Traffic congestion on Gambia’s urban road network has increased substantially over the last few years.It has become so prevalent that it is causing frustrations for commuters and drivers alike.

Demba Ceesay, a driver at the West Field Bakau Garage, said traffic congestion means bad business for drivers, because the time they spend on the highway before getting to their destination affects daily earnings.  

Fatoumatta Balajo, a businesswoman, said commuters who encounter unexpected traffic congestion may be late for work or other appointments, causing a loss in productivity for businesses and in the drivers’ personal lives.

She said traffic delays may also slow down the shipping of cargo if delivery trucks can’t remain on schedule due to a congested route.

“Drivers who know that traffic congestion is likely may decide to forgo an activity altogether, leading to less consumer spending and lower event attendance.

“Drivers who become impatient may be more likely to drive aggressively or dangerously, this contributes to poor health for those affected by the stress and puts other drivers in danger,” she added.

Lamin Y. Jammeh, a student of Gambia College, said the traffic congestion in the Greater Banjul Area is really affecting students that live far away and have to travel from their homes to their schools. Traffic congestion occurs when demand for road space exceeds supply. So, what is the best solution?

Salifu Drammeh, a civil engineer, said the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure should formulate a strategy to address the issue of traffic congestion because Gambian roads are narrow, compared to the highways in some countries in the sub-region.   

Asked what should be done to solve the problem, Drammeh replied that government should demolish the houses and shops along the main highways, compensate the owners and expand the highway from Banjul to Brikama. He said the same should also be done for other busy roads in the country.

He opined that these options will reduce traffic jam on the roads, have less of an environmental impact and reduce the stress associated with driving in heavy traffic.

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