19 April 2018

Ghana: Closure of Bridge Affecting Economic Activities in Shai Osudoku

Economic activities in Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region is likely to be affected, following the closure of the steel bridge over the Lomeh Creck, linking Akuse and Asutsuare.

The bridge was closed two months ago by the bridge maintenance unit of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) after the detecting that the over 60 year-old bridge, had become a death, trap and could collapse.

The metal pillars underneath the bridge were rusted beyond repairs while the colons had also shifted to one side, showing signs that it could collapse any moment.

The bridge connects communities, including Kasunya, Djorkpo, Volivo, Lubuse, Kewum Atrobinya, Tokpo, while commuters from Somanya in the Eastern Region use that route through Battor and Aveyime to connect Sege and Ada in the Greater Accra Region.

The Shai Osudoku area with a population of more than 7,000 are predominantly rice farmers and fishermen, as well as banana and tilapia farmers.

The current situation has led to drivers alighting commuters at the foot of the bridge to cross over on foot to take another vehicle to continue the journey, okada riders are also cashing in and charging exorbitant fares.

Some transport operators told Ghanaian Times that though the closure of the bridge was timely, the inconvenience it had caused could lead to the loss of livelihood of the people.

According to Mr Francis Addo, who is the secretary to Asutsuare Branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), drivers could not reduce fares because they did not create any problem.

He said the GPRTU has repaired the bridge on three occasions, but it was not reimbursed and did not have funds for any such project.

Mr Addo stated that the bridge has deteriorated beyond use and must be pulled down for a new one to be built, and appealed to the district assembly to as a matter of urgency implore the GHA to work on the bridge, to alleviate the suffering of the people.

According to him, as a result of the closure; pregnant women referred from the Asutsuare health centre to the Akuse Hospital, had to be carried on motorcycles, which was not safe, expressing worry that "That the authorities are waiting for someone to die before taking action."

The District Chief Executive, Mr Daniel Akuffo, when contacted, said the assembly had always been maintaining the bridge but this time round the situations was beyond its means.

He indicated that the Minister of Roads later directed the Ghana Road Fund to release money to the department of feeder roads to enable it work on the bridge to no avail.

Meanwhile, the Manklalo of the Osudoku Traditional area, Nene Tetteh Otibu IV, has urged government to as a matter of urgency 'fix' the bridge.

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