Defective bridges cut off some communities

BY: Samuel Duodu & Mary Anane-Amponsah
 Residents of the Saboba District crossing the river
Residents of the Saboba District crossing the river

Movement of persons and goods has ceased in some communities in the Northern and Volta regions following the submersion of a bridge in the north and the collapse of another in the Volta Region.

The decking of the Kpalba Bridge over the Oti River, linking the Saboba District to the Yendi Municipality and Tamale, all in the Northern Region, has been submerged as a result of weeks of torrential rains, making it impassable.

In the Volta Region, a bridge on the Ahavor River, which connects three farming communities to the rest of the region, has not been fixed since it broke down about 13 years ago.

Kpalba Bridge

The submersion of the Kpalba Bridge decking has prevented children from crossing the river to school and residents are unable to access health care and other social services elsewhere.

The road linking Saboba and Yendi has also been rendered impassable, leaving traders and residents at the mercy of armed robbers who have taken advantage of the bad nature of the road to rob passengers.

A journalist with Radio Gaakii at Saboba, David Takal, told the Daily Graphic that some schoolchildren relied on canoes to cross the river to school.

Some residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic said the issue had become perennial and several appeals for its resolution had yielded no results.

DCE

The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Saboba, Mr George Bingrini, stated in an interview that until the water receded, it would be difficult to work on the bridge.

He added that he had donated some life jackets to people using canoes to cross the river.

“We will, therefore, appeal to the government to come to our aid by constructing a new metal bridge to replace the old one as a long-term measure after the floodwaters have receded,” he added.

Ahavor Bridge


The bridge, which connects Havorgodo and Dekpo in the Ho West District, and Tanve in the Afadjato South District to Tafi Atome and Logba towns, has become a death trap, hampering the movement of people across the communities during the rainy season.

For all these years, farmers who cultivated maize, cassava and rice had to endure losses from their farms as a result of their inability to connect to market centres to sell their produce, especially during the rainy season.

The farmers and traders in the communities lamented how difficult it was for them to go about their businesses because there were no roads for vehicles to connect to their communities.

Only route

Explaining the situation to the Daily Graphic, the Assembly Member for the Tafi-Atome Electoral Area, Mr John Gbetanu, said the bridge, constructed in 1987, was the only route out of the town and that whenever it rained the whole area got flooded, making connection to other communities difficult.

Farmers and traders, he said, sometimes had to use motorbikes to carry their produce across the bridge to some neighbouring villages where they could get vehicles to the market centres.

According to him, during that season, schoolchildren who went to school at Tafi-Atome had to stay at home till the route became accessible.

Some people, in the past years, had lost their lives trying to use the bridge during the rainy season.

“Recently, a schoolgirl nearly got drowned when the bamboo used as slabs on the bridge got broken while she was crossing,” he disclosed.

The assembly member further narrated how some people carrying a sick person also nearly got drowned when they fell into the river on their way to hospital.

The chiefs and the people in the communities pleaded with the government and philanthropists to come to their aid.