Eroded bridges now death traps in Region
8/3/2012 6:31:46 PM -
by William N-lanjerborr Jalulah
Residents of some communities in the Upper East Region are not only cut off from the rest of the region and other neighbouring communities, but are also now living in fear, following heavy rains that are collapsing bridges and culverts that link those communities.
Interestingly, one does not need an architectural eye to draw the conclusion that works on most of those bridges and culverts were done shoddily. This is because some of those bridges and culverts were constructed less than five years ago.
Though in almost all the nine district/municipal assemblies in the region there are reported cases of these collapsed bridges, this report focuses on three assemblies - Bolgatanga Municipality, Kassena-Nankana, and Garu-Tempane.
In the Bolgatanga Municipality, the sides of the bridge linking Zuarungu and Dacheo have eroded and eaten into the main road. This development has recorded accidents, and left victims with different degrees of injuries such as broken limbs and scarred faces. Most of the victims are motorbike users.
Some residents, who spoke to this reporter on his visit to the bridge on Thursday, said they had made several complaints to the assembly through their member, but their plight was yet to receive fruitful results.
Their concerns were that the assembly does not care about their plight, and that if the trend continues, they would have no choice than to boycott the December elections, as efforts to contact the assembly member proved futile.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Edward Ayariba in an interview confirmed that he was aware of the problem with the bridge. He explained that the highway engineer had hinted him that the road had been awarded to a contractor who was yet to move to site.
Mr. Ayariba however admitted that the hint had been long. 'In fact, the truth of the matter is that, we don't longer have contractors who have money to execute road contracts because normally the contractors are supposed to finish the work before they are paid their mobilization. Sometimes they even get the money six to one year after completion of work'.
In the Garu-Tempane District, the bridge connecting two predominantly farming communities; Kongo and Basunde is now also skeleton bridge as most parts of it are washed off as a result of torrential rains that led the entire area flooded.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, Mr. David Dakurugu, was worried that the situation could become threat on food security in the entire district. He appealed to the feeder road engineer in the district to help address the problem.
Also, the terrible story is told in the Kassena-Nankana West District, where residents of Sirigu and other road users plying the Bolgatanga-Nyariga-Zorkor road are exposed to a disaster staring at them in the face.
The bridge on this road is now a death trap and could collapse at any time.
This bridge is located in the Guwunko-Basengo Electoral Area in the Kassena-Nankana West District, and links the Bolgatanga Municipality with the Kassena-Nankana West district.
In the event this bridge collapses, a total of five electoral areas in the Kassena-Nankana West district will be cut from the regional capital, Bolgatanga
The danger is an about three feet wide and five feet deep hole, developing in the middle of the bridge due to the shoddy work done by the contractor and the supervising institution.
Apart from the hole in the middle of the bridge, the sub-standard materials used, such as iron rods, are broken apart and exposed, with their tips posing a threat to the tyres of vehicles, motorbikes, and bicycles.
Like the bridge on the Dacheo road, this one also has recorded accidents, as some motorbike riders have fallen into the ditch created as a result of the erosion, and deep holes in the middle of the bridge.
Residents of Sirigu and surrounding villages in the Kassena-Nankana West District, in their effort to ensure that commercial vehicles from Bolgatanga continue to serve them through the Bolgatanga-Nyariga route, have heaped some big stones under the bridge, and some dry sticks across the holes, to enable taxi cabs to use the bridge.
Though a contractor was on site during the visit of this reporter, a former assembly member for the Guwunko-Basengo Electoral Area, Mark Ayamga, was not happy with the slow pace of work.
He said whenever it rains heavily, road users pay as high as GH¢5 to canoe operators to paddle them and their belongings across.
Mr. Thomas Dalluah, DCE for Kassena-Nankana West, chose not to talk to me after I introduced myself and said I was doing a story on that bridge.
It is obvious that residents of these and other communities deserve better than what they are having now. Their concerns are that their authorities are not concerned about their plight, whereas the authorities are also complaining of the lack of funds.
In all of this, I think it is only fair that if the authorities have genuine concerns for not using the people's resources to provide them their basic needs, then they (authorities) should be responsible enough to use the right communication channel to inform the people of their difficulties and possible options, or efforts being made to address their challenges.