Thirty-one composite modular steel bridges, spanning rivers and large drainages mostly in rural communities across the country, are at various stages of completion.
Eight of them are ready for use, while 23 are about 90 per cent complete.
Funded by the Czech government, the completed bridges are part of 50 of such bridges constructed to resolve critical challenges in communities and towns regarding road infrastructure across the country.
The €50-million project was executed by Knights Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Knights a.s. of the Czech Republic under an agreement between the governments of Ghana and the Czech Republic.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Knights a.s., Dr Karl Laryea, who made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic after the launch of the 25th anniversary of the company in Accra, explained that out of the 30 bridges, “we have written to the government for official handing over of eight of them, which can be used now”.
“The rest of the 22 are going through testing processes, with small drainage systems needed to be completed by the ministry, which is not part of our scope of work,” he explained.
He further explained that some of the bridges were replacements of old ones, while others were first-time provisions.
Location of bridges
The bridges, which vary in length between 20 and 50 metres, are the bridge over the Okurudu stream at Kpormottey in the Central Region, the Okwe River on the Somanya-Akuse Junction road (known as Okwenya Bridge) in the Eastern Region, the bridge over the Birim River in the Eastern Region known as the Akim Mampong–Adasawase Bridge, the Community 19 Bridge at Klagon (Abattoir), near Tema, the bridge over the River Densu at Ayigbe Town, Weija, and the Community 12 Bridge over the Klagon stream, all in the Greater Accra Region.
Some are the Ochi River Bridge on the Breman-Asikuma road, the Awotwe Junction-Awotwe Bridge over the Samri River, both in the Central Region, the bridge over the Densu River on the Nankese-Atwakan-Bomponso No. 2 Road, the bridge over the stream on the Asokore-Kuma Road, the bridge over the stream on the Kyebi–Kasajan road, the bridge over the stream on the Adarkwa-Addo Nkwanta road, all in the Eastern Region, the bridge over the Banko River on the Essieninpong-Timeabu Road in the Ashanti Region and the bridge over the Atekrom River on the Azimsum-Azoribisi road in the Upper East Region.
The others are the bridge over the Kamba River on the Sentu-Girigan-Kpari road, the bridge over the Kaworo River on the Kunchogu- Kwapong road, both in the Upper West Region; the bridge over the Daka River on the Lanja-Bofoyili road in the Northern Region; the bridge over the Tano River on the Chiraa-Mankranho road in the Ashanti Region and the bridge over the stream on the Ayensuakor-Doutu road in the Central Region. The rest are the bridge over the stream on the Sokode-Bame road in the Volta Region; the Osoroase Krobom-Sea Abenaso Bridge over the Sea River in the Eastern Region; the bridge over a stream on the Kokoso-Bohyen road in the Ashanti Region, the Senyeri-Gbiniyire bridge in the Northern Region, the Prestea-Hemang bridge and the Insu Junction-Oppong Valley Bridge, both in the Western Region, the North Ofankor-Taifa Burkina Bridge in the Greater Accra Region and the Susanso-Angloga Bridge in the Ashanti Region as well as the Zuarangu-Gambibgo Bridge in the Upper East Region.
Dr Laryea explained further that the bridges were to have been completed by May 31, this year, but “due to the COVID-19 pandemic and delays in the relocation of utility service lines, some of the sites were yet to begin”.
“Also, there was excess rainfall in the western part of Ghana, which prevented most of the contractors from working,” he further explained.
Signing of MoU
Giving a background, the CEO of Knight a.s. said the number of bridges to be constructed were 200 during the signing in 2007, at a cost of €200 million.
He indicated that due to financial constraints, the contract was broken into four tranches, and in April 2019, an agreement for the first tranche of 50 was signed.
He further explained that on that same day in April, a Czech Republic bank, Cellophanes Obchodni banka, a.s., signed a loan agreement for the project with the Ministry of Finance.
"This agreement came into force on June 1, 2020 and we are expected to complete it by the end of 2022. Out of the ongoing 50 bridges, we were supposed to fully inaugurate 25 by the end of March 2022, while the remaining 25 will be handed over to the ministry by the end of this year," he explained.
Dr Laryea added that due to the "excellent work being done by Knights, the Minister of Roads and Highways has decided to start the process of acquiring funds for both the second and the third tranches this year, so that by 2023, when we would have finished with the first tranche, we can start the second tranche".