General News of Friday, 14 March 2014
Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, has summoned the Minister of Roads and Highways to appear before the House to brief members on the steps being taken to address the challenges which have resulted from the closure of the Adomi Bridge.
He has also directed the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport to visit the new crossing site created by the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) to ascertain the facts regarding the problems created by the closure, and report to the House for appropriate action.
Mr. Adjaho gave the directives after Members of Parliament (MPs) had expressed concern over the hardship brought about by the closure of the bridge.
According to the MPs, the GHA appeared not to have made adequate preparations for the shutdown.
They said, for example, that alternative routes had not been rehabilitated while one of the ferries which had been secured to carry humans and vehicles across the Volta river was not in good condition and broke down frequently.
The Adomi Bridge at Atimpoku in the Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region was closed to vehicular and human traffic on Monday, March 10, 2014, for major rehabilitation works to begin.
The 56-year-old bridge connects some parts of the country such as Juapong in the North Tongu District, Ho and Hohoe.
The GHA closed the bridge and simultaneously launched ferry services at Senchi and Akrade, two communities in the Eastern Region, to enable commuters, traffic and goods to cross the Volta river.
The ferry services will operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m daily for the period of the work.
Commenting on the matter, the MPs said the closure and the poor ferry services often led to people massing up at the crossing point, sometimes spending more than 24 hours just waiting to be ferried across the river.
The MP for Adaklu, Kwame Governs Agbodza, who made a statement on the issue, said the situation at the crossing point had made travelling unpleasant for the people.
He said due to the frequent breakdown of the ferry, motorists often spent the night at the crossing point.
What was worse, he said, drivers had arbitrarily increased transport fares by more than 100 per cent as a result of the high fares charged by operators of the ferries to carry vehicles across.
He also sought answers from the GHA as to why it did not prioritise the construction of the Ho-Adaklu-Adidome road as an alternative route.
The MP for Central Tongu, Joe Gidisu, said the Adomi Bridge was constructed at the most dangerous river crossing points in the world and called for its speedy rehabilitation, as well as a quick resolution of the problem at the current ferry crossing point.
The MP for Okaikoi Central, Patrick Boamah, sought to know why the GHA had not carried out regular maintenance on the bridge in the past.
The MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, said the GHA failed to consult stakeholders.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah (NPP, Sekondi) said Ghana needed to keep in tune with the renovation regimen of its infrastructure.
He said officials of the Ministry of Roads and Highways and other agencies needed to appear before the House to brief it about the state of the country's infrastructure.