Kojo Ashong steel bridge over the Densu River cries for help
Danger looms on a steel bridge over the Densu River which connects Kojo Ashong and Otuplem near Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality.
The bridge’s broken metal planks have left holes on it, rendering it precarious and needing urgent repairs before disaster strikes.
The bridge links Amasaman to major communities such as Otaten, Obom, Onyansanaa, Abbeyman, Kwashie Kuma and Obokwashie.
Hundreds of commuters and residents use the bridge “with their hearts in their mouths”.
Besides, holes have been created on the roads reconstructed barely two years ago leading to the bridge, and that is an additional nightmare for motorists and other road users.
A taxi driver, Kwame Ofori, who plies the Amasaman-Otanten road and uses the bridge on a daily basis, blamed heavy trucks that carried sand from the area for weakening the bridge.
He said planks were placed on the bridge to prevent heavy trucks from using it to save it from collapse, but some sand winners at Kojo Ashong removed the planks to enable the trucks to use it.
A trader, Christian Amerley Tagoe, who lives at Oduntia and crosses the bridge daily to sell her wares, said they were scared that something bad might happen to them on the bridge.
The Administrator of Divine Providence School Annex at Otaten, a Catholic orphanage with a school attached, Rev. Sister Mary Alice Kezier Kizita Otoo, said her school had a population of 338 students and pupils and 40 teaching and non-teaching staff who used the bridge and were always scared.
"Our bus crosses this bridge every morning and evening transporting these children from Amasaman, and we fear that the bridge will collapse,'' she said.
The Assembly Member for the Onyansana Electoral Area, Daniel Korankye Dodoo, said the bridge constructed and commissioned in 1991 under late President Jerry John Rawlings’s regime had not seen any maintenance.
He explained that the bridge was constructed temporarily to connect Amasaman and Kojo Ashong, but rapid development and population growth took a heavy toll on it and the bridge began deteriorating six years ago.
He said after several petitions and demonstrations by some motorists and residents of the various communities, a combined team of officials from the Department of Feeder Roads, Department of Urban Roads and security personnel, led by the Ga West Municipal Chief Executive, Clement Wilkinson, and the Member of Parliament for Amasaman, Akwasi Afrifa Mensah, came to inspect the bridge on July 7 this year.
Mr Dodoo appealed to authorities concerned to act swiftly to avoid any disaster and cited an incident where a similar bridge collapsed at Ashalaja, claiming several lives.
"We know the bridge has become dangerous. Anything can happen at anytime,” he said.
When the Daily Graphic contacted Mr Wilkinson, he expressed great worry about the state of the bridge and said the Department of Feeder Roads had promised to fix the roads and he was expecting them to have worked on the bridge by now.
The acting Director of the Department of Feeder Roads, Roosevelt Odai Otoo, told the Daily Graphic that they had forwarded a request to the Bridge Division of the Ghana Highway Authority to work on the costing, after which it would be forwarded to the Minister of Roads and Highways for approval.
He said the bridge was an old one and there was the need to replace it.
"We have in stock some of the components used in constructing the bridge imported from the United Kingdom and the engineers at the Bridge Division of the Ghana Highway Authority will replace the entire bridge after approval," he said.