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18.12.2004 Regional News

Eastern, Western Nzema cut off

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Esiama (W/R) Dec. 18, GNA - Eastern and Western Nzema traditional areas have been partially cut off from the rest of the Western Region following the collapse of a bailey bridge that spans river Amanzule.
Two tipper trucks of a road construction company working on the 20-kilometre Krisan-Eikwe road were on December 10, involved in a head-on crash on the bridge, designed for one vehicle at a time, resulting in its collapse.
This has disrupted socio-economic activities of the people of the two areas who are predominantly farmers and fishermen.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, accompanied by Mr Freddie Blay, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle and Mr Kojo Armah, District Chief executive of Nzema East and officials of the Ghana Highway Authority on Friday inspected the bridge to assess the degree of damage and plan for its early repair.
Mr Aidoo gave the assurance that he would collaborate with the MPs for the areas and other government departments to repair the bridge on time. He expressed worry about over-speeding by drivers which, according to him was a major cause of road accidents and appealed to the various Transport Unions to intensify their road safety education to reverse the situation.
Mr Aidoo warned that drivers who in their desire to make additional money during the Christmas season, would ignore traffic regulations that they would not be spared when caught violating the rules, adding, a little patience can reduce accidents on our roads during the season .
Mr Freddie Blay stressed the need for urgent measures to be taken to repair the bridge to make the road accessible to alleviate the hardship of the people and expressed dissatisfaction that the sick had to be transported across the river by canoes to the hospital at Eikwe.
Mr Akonai Kwaade, Western Regional Director of the Ghana Highways Authority, advised drivers to obey traffic regulations and drive more carefully to avoid road accidents and said it was unfortunate that the drivers of the tipper trucks attempted to use the single lane bridge at the same time.
He said more bridges would to be constructed throughout the country and the old and weak ones would be rehabilitation.
Mr Emmanuel K. T. Bondzie, Project Engineer of the Bridge Maintenance Unit (BMU) of the GHA, based at Kukurantumi in he Eastern Region, appealed to the youth in the area not to tamper with the partially sub-merged bridge.
So far only 10 kilometres of the road, which involve re-gravelling and tarring had been completed and following the collapse of the bridge, the work, which was far behind schedule could further be delayed. Food and alcoholic beverage sellers and canoe owners have taken advantage of the situation to make more money.
Canoe owners charge 1,000 cedis to ferry each passengers to either side of the river while commercial and taxi drivers charge high fares to pick passengers from either side before commuters could reach their final destination.
Meanwhile, one of the tipper trucks with registration number GT5725D involved in the accident, had been removed from the river at the time of the visit while the second vehicle, which was loaded with gravels, was yet to be removed from the river.

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