Engineers repairing the bridge
Engineers repairing the bridge

Kojo Ashong-Otuplem steel bridge closed to traffic

The 36-metre bailey steel bridge connecting Kojo Ashong and Otuplem in the Ga West Municipality has been closed to traffic for two weeks to allow for repair works.

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The project, which began on Sunday, June 7, will end on July 21 this year.

However, officials of the Roads and Highways Authority have assured residents of the area and drivers who use the bridge that they were working overtime to complete the repair works.

In the interim, motorbikes and pedestrians are allowed to use the bridge alongside the repair works since there is no alternative access route in the area. The repair works were as a result of rusty bolts and nuts holding the steel bridge over the Densu River and broken metal planks that had left holes in them.

The bridge links Amasaman to major communities such as Onyansanaa, Kwashie Kuma, Obokwashie, Achiaman, Doblo Gonno, Ardeyman, Yahoman and Otuplem. The bridge has become so weak that heavy-duty vehicles, including tipper trucks and passenger vehicles, wobble on it.

Scope of work

Briefing the Daily Graphic at the project site, the Project Manager (Bridge Maintenance Unit) of the Ghana Highway Authority, Aaron Nana Amponsah, said the scope of work involved the welding of some default panels, changing of the straight and horizontal bracing, metal planks and painting of the bridge.

He said the project would cost GH¢ 400,000.

Instruction

He said the Minister of Roads and Highways, Francis Asenso-Boakye, instructed the authority to inspect the Kojo Ashong and Afienya bridges, based on which the Bridge Maintenance Unit was tasked to repair the two bridges.

''We have been tasked to work on two bridges, the Kojo Ashong and Afienya bridges, but because of a lack of staff, the Minister of Roads and Highways has asked us to complete the Kojo Ashong Bridge before tackling the Afienya bridge, which is also in a very bad shape,” he said.

He said his men start work at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. daily to enable them to complete the two bridges within one month. The project manager said they would fix mini gantries on the bridge to limit axle weight and prevent heavy-duty vehicles from damaging it.

He hinted that the authority had plans to construct a concrete bridge near the steel bridge to serve the community. The Roads Minister’s priority, he said, was for the Bridge Maintenance Unit to conduct a thorough inspection to identify bridges that needed special attention in the country.

The Administrator of the Divine Providence Catholic School at Otaten, an orphanage with an attached school, Rev. Sister Mary Alice Kezier Kizita Otoo, said they had closed down the school because their 300 students use the bridge every day.

She expressed the hope that the project would be completed on schedule. She said students writing the ongoing Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) cross the bridge from both ends of Kojo Ashong and Otuaplem daily.

The Daily Graphic on December 7, 2020, published a story to draw the attention of the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the Ga West Municipal Assembly to the precarious state of the bridge.

Intervention

After a recent working visit to inspect the bridge and roads in the area, Mr Asenso-Boakye announced the re-assignment of the Amasaman Three Junction to Kojo-Ashong road project to a new contractor.

The minister assessed the situation and decided to manage the project under the Urban Roads Department, directing the highway authority to promptly address the issue of the broken bridge.

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