Ghana’s longest bridge – the Adomi Bridge – was re-opened to traffic last Saturday after 22 months of rehabilitation works.
The Adomi Bridge, which connects Atimpoku in the Eastern Region and Juapong in the Volta Region, is the shortest link between the two regions.
Stretching across a section of the Volta River, the 339.9-metre (805 feet) new-look two-hinged arch suspension steel bridge will accommodate increased traffic across the river and improve socio-economic activities between the western and eastern blocs of the country and beyond.
Financed with a 12.9 million euro facility from the Bank of Austria, the rehabilitation works, the first in the history of the 58-year-old infrastructure, included the provision of a new bridge deck, hanger cables and lighting.
The works were undertaken by Messrs Bilfinger MCE GmBH of Austria.
President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated the rehabilitated facility at a ceremony at Atimpoku in the Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region.
Hundreds of people, some having crossed the vast river by boat and canoes from the Volta Region purposely to witness the event, burst into jubilation as the President officially reopened the structure and drove along it.
Long lines of waiting vehicles from the opposite ends then rolled onto the bridge, cutting the long distances they would have made by various distances.
Economic activities bounce back
With the reopening of the bridge, economic activities at Atimpoku, which took a nosedive during the closure of the bridge, are expected to bounce back.
The activities shifted to the Senchi ferry crossing, which provided the alternative link between the Eastern and Volta regions.
Need for rehabilitation
It was originally built during the colonial administration and inaugurated jointly by the last Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke, and the then Prime
Minister, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, on January 25, 1957, but lack of rehabilitation over a long period resulted in the facility developing cracks in 2008.
Consequently, between 2009 and 2011, the government enforced a 20-tonne load limitation on the bridge, while funds were sought for rehabilitation works.
Funding was eventually secured in 2011. Apart from the 12.9 million euros the bank provided for the rehabilitation works, it also advanced 13.96 million euros for preparatory works, as well as the Senchi road works and the procurement of two ferries to provide crossing services between Senchi and old Akrade, bringing the total credit facility to 26.86 million euros.
Decommissioning of ferries
President Mahama said although alternative routes between the Eastern and Volta regions were provided via the two ferries, the people still endured inconveniences with the closure of the bridge.
“With patience and support, however, the government has been able to complete the project for the benefit of the people,” he said to cheers from the teeming crowd.
President Mahama said with the reopening of the bridge, the two ferries would be transferred to the Volta River crossing points at Yeji and Dambai to strengthen operations there.
He made mention of some bridge projects in the country, some of them in the planning stages, others completed or ongoing, to emphasise the importance the government attached to the development of road transport.
The President stated that the government was holding discussions with the Japanese government for the construction of another bridge over the Southern Volta.
He also said four other bridge projects had been completed in the Eastern Region over Rivers Aboabo, Birim, Asubone and Okye.
Besides, work started recently on the rehabilitation of the bridge over the Birim River at Akim Oda, which would be completed in March 2016.
President Mahama said many road projects had equally been undertaken across the country, while others were going on.
He commended the Austrian government and the other development partners of the country for their continuous support to Ghana’s development.
Touching on the abuse of bridge loading systems, the President called for the enforcement of the load limits to protect the lifespan of the Adomi Bridge.
“We should make sure overloaded trucks do not use the bridge,” he stressed.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, said the completion of the project was yet another manifestation of the government’s quest to improve the lives of the people.
Good roads, he noted, were a sign of the level of development of the country and that was why the government continued to invest in the sector.
Both the Omanhene of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, and the Paramount Chief of the Anfoega Traditional Area, Togbe Tepre Hodo IV, commended the government for seeing to the completion of the project.
They said the project would boost economic activities not only at Atimpoku and Juapong but also the whole of the two regions.
By: Kwame Asare Boadu