Motorists in the Ga South and West communities in the Greater Accra Region heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday when the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), opened to traffic, a Bailey bridge that links the corridor to the Central Region through Kasoa.
The steel bridge which was constructed within 45 days spans 36 metres and has maximum capacity load of 50 tonnes. It was constructed by the GHA Bridge Maintenance Unit at the cost of GH¢281,776.00 from the emergency road fund, as an emergency response, following the collapse of the bridge in July.
The Times observed commuters plying the road with ease and smiles apparently demonstrating the relief the new steel has brought to them.
“We are happy this bridge has been constructed and opened to traffic. When the old bridge collapsed, we suffered and we commute with difficulties, we are grateful to the government,” Rafick Attuquaye Malik, a commuter, said.
The road is important to the communities here, as it facilitates movement of goods and services along the corridor to market centres at Amasaman in the Greater Accra and Kasoa and Bawjiase in the Central Region.
Soon after declaring the road opened to traffic by the GHA, members of the community called on the two assemblies to pass by-laws to regulate the use of the road as it was established that the old bridge collapsed as a result of abuse.
It has been established that the old bridge collapsed when a tipper truck loaded with chippings failed to obey the maximum load limit.
Even though gantries have been erected at the either side of the bridge to check overloaded vehicles, the Director of Feeder Roads, George Aidoo, appealed to the commuters to exercise great care to protect the lifespan of the facility noting that it was the second time a bridge had collapsed and a new one provided to them.
“Desist from overloading to help safeguard the designated lifespan of the bridge as well as prevent premature deterioration and collapse of the bridge,” he pleaded.
The Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Francis Digber, said maximum measures had been put in place to check the abuse of the bridge and appealed to the residents and commuters “to own” the bridge.
“We should take a cue from the lessons arising out of the collapsed bridge, and ensure not to abuse the road and the structure of the bridge because it has been designed for a load limit,” he added.
The Project Manager and engineer with the BMU of the GHA said the new bridge has been re-configurated and re-enforced to enhance its lifespan.
The Director of Public Affairs of GHA, Norbert Quarmor, appealed to the media to help educate commuters on the use of the road for them to derive maximum benefit from the bridge.
The brigde is located at Ayikai Doblo, between Amasaman and Ashalaja on the 33 kilometre road linking Amasaman to Kasoa, which is being upgraded into bitumen surface and a permanent bridge by Quiroz Galvao, the Brazilian contractors. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.
From Salifu Abdul-Rahaman, Ayikai- Doblo