Hon. Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, Member of Parliament (MO) for Garu constituency in the Upper East Region, has called on the government to as a matter of necessity expedite action and reconstruct the collapsed steel bridge that links the district with the Bawku municipality and its adjourning communities to save the farmers and traders from losing their produce.
According to the MP, the collapsed bridge has cut off most farming communities from the districts and the alternative access roads in the area are in a deplorable state and the constituents, especially traders and farmers, have difficulties accessing or conveying their produce to the market centres.
Speaking to The Republic shortly after posing an urgent question to the Minister for Roads and Highways on the floor of parliament last Wednesday, Mr. Alalzuuga said, works on the over 8km of the Juaboso township roads which were awarded on contract in November, last year, have been stalled completely.
Asking the question on the floor of parliament, the former District Chief Executive under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, said, “Mr Speaker, I want to ask the Minister for Roads and Highways what steps the ministry is taking to reconstruct the Tamane Steel Bridge linking Garu Tempane District to Bawku Municipal, Binduri, Pusinga and Burkina Faso, which collapsed recently?”
However, in response, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako-Atta, said, “A permanent bridge will be constructed at the same location under the DANIDA-funded Six Bridges Program, which will begin in 2018.”
According to the minister, other bridges to be constructed under the DANIDA-funded Six Bridges Program are Kulungungu and Doninga in the Upper East Region and Kulun, Ambalara and Sissily in the Upper West Region.
He added that, to expedite action on the projects, eligible contractors have been invited to submit bids by the third week of September, this year, for the awards of contract on the bridges, which he described as important bridges to the country.
The Roads and Highways Minister explained to parliament that, the Tamane Bridge, located in the Garu Tempane District is a 67.5 m span Universal Bailey Bridge over river Tamane and links Garu Tempane District and Bawku Municipality.
He said, the bridge was constructed about nine years ago, but on July 14, this year the bridge’s superstructure collapsed at mid-span due to the excessive impact of overloaded 7-axle articulated trucks that continue to ply on the bridge to other towns and neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Mr. Amoako Atta said, to ascertain the damage on the bridge, he, together with some engineers and technical experts from the Ghana Highways Authority, visited the site on July 19, stressing that an assessment of the maintenance has been carried out on site by Bridge Maintenance Unit of the Highways Authority.
“Mr. Speaker, the Bridge Maintenance Unit has visited the site and carried out further assessment on the collapsed bridge and has come out with the appropriate intervention to reinstate the bridge. The Unit is currently mobilizing to undertake the reinstatement of the superstructure,” the Highways Minister told parliament.
He also stated that, to assist commuters traverse on that route, an alternative route through the Garu-Binduri -Bawku feeder road, which is fair surface condition has been identified and plans are far in advance to upgrade it for easy movement by commuters in the affected communities.
However, Hon. Alalzuuga in an interview with The Republic, attributed the cause of the collapsed bridge to activities of tipper trucks and other heavy vehicles driven on the area.
“Actually, this bridge links the Garu, Tempane,Bawku, Binduri, Pusinga, and Burkina Faso and it is known as the major link that links the Garu Tempane to the Northern Region through Bunkrurugu-Yoyo, Gambaga-Nalerigu to the Southern sector of the country,” he said.
He added that the incessant plying of heavy trucks in the area was what had exposed the bridge, adding that tipper truck operators had been cautioned not to use it but they ignored the warning.
Mr. Alalzuuga said, though he acknowledged the minister’s assurance that work on the project will commence early 2018, he expected the government to back its words with action for the bridge is an important bridge that aids farmers and traders and ought to be fixe as soon as possible to ease commuters difficulties.
The bridge, he noted, remains the most important bridge to the people of Garu Tempane and its adjoining communities, stating, “apart from its linking to other neigbouring countries, it may also affect the Tamane irrigation dam that takes its source of water from the river.
He contended that, Garu-Tempane is the largest vegetable production basket with numerous market centers in the country and that the bridge and its roads should be highly considered by the government, saying, “the road needs to be fix and tarred for easy movement of farmers and their goods.”
While urging the government to speed up with work on the bridge project site, the Garu MP also called on his constituents to exercise patience with high hope that the project would be completed as scheduled to ease their transportation.
He said he would continue to have informal discussion with the minister and other technical experts, as well as any contractor that would be awarded to ensure that the bridge is fixed as soon as clearance from the government is obtained to resume work on site in 2018.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba