Highway Authority urges residents to be patient over Birim Bridge
The Ghana Highway Authority says residents of the Birim Central Municipality in the Eastern Region and other road users would have to endure untold inconvenience as the Birim Bridge is closed for rehabilitation.
The bridge which links cocoa producing areas of the Ashanti and Eastern Regions has developed serious defects, posing danger to life and property.
Officials say the bridge will partially be closed to traffic on weekdays, from 10 am each and be completely shut down on Sundays to allow for smooth execution of work beginning this week.
Residents of Ayirebi, Nkwanta, Abenase, New Edubiase and Gyadam, among others, fear the closure of the bridge will affect transportation especially of farm produce to market centres.
They are also worried they will have to pay more in fares by using long and winding alternative routes.
"How do they expect some of us(teachers) who commute from Oda to Ayirebi on daily basis [to] get to our destination when they close down this bridge'' a teacher asked me.
A farmer, Alhassan Abu transporting his farm produce from Tweapease to Akyem Oda is afraid he will have to pay more on transportation should the bridge be closed down.
"What at all is this? He asked. I know this bridge is weak but master, how would I go to Oda with these goods, pointing to cassava, plantain and some firewood."
Heavy -duty trucks, including timber and articulated trucks have been asked to use the New Abirem-Kade-Oda route but drivers are reluctant to comply.
Officials of Ghana Highway Authority have erected weak signs at both ends of the bridge to warn users of the poor state of the bridge.
Project Manager at the Bridge Maintenance Unit of the Ghana Highway Authority, Yakubu Koray, sympathizes with road users for the inconvenience the GHS 140,000 project brings.
"We expect their understanding, their co-operation and their patience. Patience because it's going to cause a lot of inconvenience to them''.
According to him, the first phase of the project will take a month to complete, with the whole project expected to be completed in three months.
"We expect rehabilitation of the steel structure to take a month. But we expect that in three months, we should have finished with all the work," he said.
Mr. Koray however wants co-operation of stakeholders for smooth execution.
"We know that the detour around that bridge is very far and that is going to cause a lot of inconvenience. For that they would need to be patient. They must understand that the work we are doing must be done'' he explained.
The rehabilitation work when completed will ease traffic and facilitate easy transportation of farm produce especially cocoa to market centers.
Mr. Koray however says that cannot come unless residents endure some untold inconveniences.
"The work we are going to do now involves rehabilitation of steel structure, construction of a new road way in both base and then the construction of gantries at both ends to restrict passage to vehicles that are not wider than the bridge. That is what this bridge involves" he told our reporter.
Story by Ohemeng Tawiah/Nhyira FM/Ghana