General News of Saturday, 18 February 2017
The Roads and Highways minister Kwesi Amoako Attah on Friday revealed that the Buipe Bridge in the Northern region is in a poor state and on the verge of causing a national tragedy.
He was elaborating on the need for the ongoing emergency rehabilitation on the bridge crossing the Black Volta and justifying why the project caused government Four Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand cedis (GH449, 000).
The Highway Authority announced a 20 day closure of the 11.4m width Bridge three days ago to enable emergency repair works. It will be closed at 2pm to 6am starting from Friday, February 17, 2017 to Wednesday, March 8, 2017 and only vehicles weighing up 20 tons will be allowed during the block.
The works will deal a big blow to productivity as volumes of hours would be spent in traveling on the alternative routes provided, but the ministry said the works were necessary to ensure structural integrity of the bridge, protect lives and property and therefore appealed for cooperation.
Per the new arrangement, travelers from South towards Tamale were to pass Techiman through Wenchi and Sawla to Fufulso junction and to Tamale, and traveler from Tamale were to use Fufulso junction and to Techiman.
Speaking to reporters after receiving briefings from site engineers, Kwesi Amoako said the bridge was at a threatening stage and needed urgent attention.
“All the slabs are getting separated, they are coming down. The metal joints are all very rusty; they are all broken and wearing out. It is now shaking when vehicles are passing, and it is not supposed to be so. If the slabs, metal flames and other member components were together and firm you wouldn’t even get the bridge shaking the way we saw it so the bridge is in critical stage”
According to him the ultimate solution is to ensure a complete replacement of the bridge estimated at several billions of cedis but failed to explicitly state government stand on his proposition.
The minister also allays fears of delay over financial concerns saying the intervention was well planned and will go as scheduled.
“We did not move into a major intervention like this without planning. The ministry is a serious one and it is made up of serious people and we will not come and announced to whole country and disturb vehicular flow when we are not prepared, we have done our home well, we have put all resources together that is why we said we are going to do this work within a 20day period”