The Ministry of Roads and Highways, in response to reports by its Engineers on the critical state of the Buipe and Yapei Bridges, announced their closure to traffic from November 22, 2017.
The closure will enable emergency repair works to be carried out within a period of four (4) weeks at an estimated cost of approximately GH¢ 4 million.
In a statement issued on the floor of Parliament, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, said the closure of the bridges was critical and necessary to avert a national disaster of a total collapse of the bridges and its rippling effects on the nation.
According to the statement, even though these bridges had generally been maintained, observations made during regular inspections of the bridges from the first quarter of this year had revealed extensive damage to the reinforced concrete and steel members as well as the drainage systems on the bridge deck, obviously, due to old age and inability to replace the bridge in the last five years.
In addition, the statement said, increased traffic loads had resulted in fatigue failures―hence the need for immediate and extensive repair works while steps were being taken for a total reconstruction in the long-term.
The statement said the Ministry, in a meeting with the executive members of all the transport operators and unions, including the GPRTU, PROTOA, Transport owners and representatives of truck drivers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, had assured them of Government's efforts in expediting action on the on-going repair works for completion before or within the stipulated period.
The Ministry, according to the statement, had, therefore, advised motorists travelling to and from the Northern Region to use the following alternative routes and to adhere to directional and safety signs that had been provided at appropriate sections along the routes:
Western Corridor―Accra-Kumasi-Techiman-Wenchi-Bamboi-Wa-Tumu-Paga and Takoradi-Tarkwa-Bogosu-Ayamfuri-Dunkwa-Obuasi-Kumasi-Techiman-Wenchi-Bamboi-Wa-Tumu-Tamale-Paga.
Eastern Corridor― Accra-Tema-Asikuma Junction-Hohoe-Jasikan-Nkwanta-Oti Damanko-Bimbilla-Yendi-Tamale-Paga and Accra-Tema-Asikuma Junction-Have-Worawora-Jasikan-Nkwanta-OtiDamanko-Bimbilla-Yendi-Tamale-Paga,
Central Corridor― Accra-Kumasi-Mampong-Ejura-Atebubu-Yeji (Ferry crossing)-Makango-Salaga-Tamale-Paga; Kintampo-Techiman-Nkoranza-Ejura-Atebubu-Yeji (Ferry crossing)-Makango-Tamale-Paga and Accra-Kumasi-Kintampo-Buipe(transit for passenger vehicles and crossover of passengers)- Yapei(transit for passenger vehicles and crossover of passengers)-Tamale-Paga.
Meanwhile, the statement said, contractors working on the alternative routes had been directed to improve the conditions of the roads to facilitate and enhance vehicular and pedestrian movement.
The Roads Minister, the statement said, had further announced that the Ministry was in consultation with the Volta Lake Transport Company for the provision of an additional ferry to the Yeji-Makango crossing to ease the congestion.
Source:ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)