Regional News of Wednesday, 12 February 2014
The steel bridge on Akora river at Agona Swedru has been destroyed beyond repairs, following a blast on Sunday afternoon.
The contractors dredging the river, Las Adventuras Limited, blasted some rocks in the river with dynamite in the course of work but the intensity of the blast blew away parts of the bridge, rendering it unusable.
As a result, the town has been divided into two; a development that has brought business and economic activities to a standstill.
The blast also damaged portions of the residence of the chief of Agona Swedru, Nana Kobina Botwe II, and four other houses.
A stone from the blast was thrown over 200 metres into the chief’s house, destroying glass windows, parts of the roof and some items in his foyer.
The bridge on River Akora was washed away by flood water in June, 2010 and was replaced with a steel bridge.
The dredging forms part of preparations in anticipation of floods in the upcoming rainy season.
The leader of the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces, WO1 Wisdom Atoprah, said initial assessment indicated that the bridge should be reconstructed.
“They used dynamite to blast the rocks and that caused the damage. The bridge is totally destroyed,” he said.
The development has worsened the already heavy vehicular traffic in the town due to lack of access roads in the town.
Because of this, drivers and commuters who pass through Swedru to get to their destinations spend hours in traffic on reaching the town.
The situation, if not attended to and dealt with as an emergency, would greatly affect business activities in the town.
The Central Regional Minister, Dr Samuel Sarpong; the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Akwasi Fosu; the Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Isaac Adjei Mensah, and the Director of Bridges at the ministry, Mr Owusu Sekyere, have since visited the town to assess the extent of damage.
They all called on Nana Botwe and pledged that the government would expedite action to ensure that the bridge was reconstructed.
Nana Botwe expressed concern that some contractors did not have the required knowledge of the jobs awarded them and said it was time the government awarded contracts based on competency and not on “whom you know basis.”