- Ankobra Bridge now death trap
The Ankobra bridge in the Ellembele District of the Western Region that serves as the main route from Ghana to neighbouring countries, such as La Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia Guinea, et al, is now a death trap for its users, Today can state on authority.
The bridge is gradually collapsing due to severe cracks developing on both the macadam on which vehicles ride and the concrete structure holding it up, which situation portends danger to users.
On a visit to the bridge, this paper’s reporter observed that the precarious state of the bridge is also making it practically difficult for it to serve its other primary purpose of serving as the main connection between the Nzema East Municipality and the Ellembele District.
Closer observation at the parts of the bridge revealed that the pillars standing in the water and supporting it look weak as they are losing their concrete and some of the iron rods in some of them have become exposed. Some of the pillars have even developed gaping cracks.
Ironically, though the state generates money from the collection of daily tolls on both ends of the bridge from drivers who use the bridge, there appears to be no plan to stop the rot and collapse of this strategically located bridge.
Information available to us indicates that the bridge, which has been in service for a long time, saw major re-construction 30 years ago.
When Today spoke to commuters who use the bridge on a daily basis, they reported that no repair works have been done on the bridge in the last ten years, leaving innocent and unsuspecting users to do so at their own peril.
Speaking to some authorities in the district and municipality, this reporter also gathered that operators of the toll system on the Ankobra bridge, the Ghana Highway Authority itself, have a legal mandate to use part of the money they collect to do quarterly maintenance of the structure, they have failed to do so for many years.
Travelling around, Today discovered that three other major bridges in the region have become death traps. All these bridges, interestingly, link Ghana to La Cote d’Ivoire and beyond. These are the Abura bridge in Ahanta West District, and the Azuleluon and Amansure bridges, which are in the Ellembele District.
There is no way one could miss the gaping potholes and cracks on the surface of these roads along these bridges. The Abura bridge, for instance, is virtually slowly dividing into two parts along the full length of the bridge, yet authorities in the district remain blind to the general deplorable nature of the bridge.
All efforts to reach the director of bridges at the Ghana Highway Authority office in Accra proved futile.
STORY BY: EVANS OSEI BAFFOUR, BACK FROM ELLEMBELE, W/R