Business people, state agencies, government appointees and all travelers to the Volta Region will soon give a sign of relief as the Adomi Bridge is expected to be opened in September this year.

Adomi Bridge
Adomi Bridge

Ghana?s President, John Dramani Mahama during the inauguration of a fibre optic broadband infrastructure laid along the country?s eastern corridor announced that ?the Adomi Bridge will be opened in September.?

This means that the bridge which spans the Volta river and connects the Volta Region and parts of the Eastern region to other parts of the country will be completed a month ahead of the October deadline. The President said the contractor was speeding up works to complete the project early to curtail the inconveniences being faced by the citizenry.

Extensive Repair Works

In March this year, the Adomi Bridge was closed down for extensive repair works; a project the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has estimated to cost Ghana ?13 million.

Following the closure of the bridge located at Atimpoku, drivers and passengers were faced with various problems in their bid to move to the Volta Region and some parts of the Eastern region which is cut off from the rest of the country by the Volta river.

The bridge was originally designed by Sir William Halcrow and partners and Freeman Fox and partners and built by Dorman Long Bridge Engineering Limited in 1957.

The repair works is however being done by Messrs Bilfinger MCE GmbH of Austria who has so far executed about 78 per cent of the work in 14 months.

Scope of work

The repair works covers the replacement of the entire bridge deck of 23 sections. As at last month, 22 of them had been replaced. Each bridge deck, prefabricated in Austria, comes in five pieces, but they are welded together as one before it is launched.

Out of the 40 hanger cables holding the bridge to the arch, about 25 cables have been replaced. Each of the hanger cable comes in two pairs.

The new deck is of asphalt on steel instead of the old decks which was made of the much heavier concrete on steel. The two walkways on each side of the bridge will however be made of concrete on steel as the new tollbooth will now be sited about 1.2 kilometres from the bridge on either side.

New Features

The bridge will now have an inspection platform fixed under the bridge. The platform which will work hydraulically can also be operated at sections to detect any defects that might develop on the bridge. This feature is to avert the difficulty in detecting faults in the past. An improvised lift fabricated at the project site has been fixed on the bridge to enable artisans to move up the arch and work on the replacement of the hanger cables.

Challenges

As at February this year, the Resident Engineer on the project, Victor Nyantekyi Baah lamented that the company was yet to receive a tax exemption certificate from the government. A situation which made the operation cost of the project go higher then estimated. Daily Guide could not substantiate whether that has been sorted out.

Also in November last year, about 59 workers of on the strike on the project went on strike over what they termed unfair wages. That was also solved after some deliberations.

Cry by Travellers

According to the GHA, 120,000 workers, traders and tourists cross the Volta River using the bridge daily while over 3,000 of all sizes cross the bridge daily as at 2012.

To this end, the closure the bridge was replaced with the launch of two ferries to connect travelers from Senchi in the Asuogyaman District (Eastern Region) to Ogoli in the North Tongu District (Volta Region).

However the challenges and loses to travelers, businesses and government is unquantifiable. The huge traffic, especially on weekends and some weekdays as well as the much higher ferry charges as compared to the toll collected on the bridge has left many praying for the early completion of the bridge. On a bad day one could spend more than three hours at the ferry crossing.

Due to the huge numbers, government also assured of completing the Adidome-Adaklu-Ho road as another alternative route, but that has not materialized as portions of the Adaklu stretch is still in very bad state.

That notwithstanding GHA has temporarily graveled the Akuse-Old Akrade road which provides access from Akuse junction through the Volta River Authority ( VRA) Dam occasionally.

By Kwadwo Duodu ([email protected])

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