North Tongu: Government will reconstruct the Aklakpanu Steel Bridge - DCE

North Tongu: Government will reconstruct the Aklakpanu Steel Bridge - DCE

Story: Benjamin Makafui Attipoe, Sayikope-Aklakpanu
The North Tongu District Chief Executive (DCE) in the Volta Region, Hon. Divine Osborne Fenu has given the assurance that government would reconstruct the collapsed Sayikope-Aklakpanu Bridge that went down a few days ago with a salt cargo truck. Even though the DCE did not indicate how soon reconstruction works would start, he described the bridge and road as strategic and important, adding that government cannot afford to disregard fixing the facility.
The Sayikope-Aklakpanu Bridge collapsed on Thursday night of 25th January, 2024 when a cargo truck carrying some six hundred (600) bags of twenty-five (25) kilogram of salt from Sege-Ada, was using the route and headed for Kpassa in the Nkwanta North District of the Oti Region.
The situation has since cut off several vehicles from using that stretch of the road which links Mafi Adidome in Central Tongu and Juapong in the North Tongu District. The road is one of the short routes from Mafi Adidome through Juapong to Ho or Anum-Asikuma in the Eastern Region and also through all the Peki communities through to Kpeve and Kpando and beyond. From Juapong to Adidome, the road also connects Sogakope in South Tongu through to either Accra, the national capital through Ada (Kasseh) in Ada East or Anloga in Anloga District, Akatsi in Akatsi South, Dzodze in Ketu North and Aflao in the Ketu South Municipality.
A number of motorists  including market women have since resorted to crossing the Aklakpa stream with canoes in order to continue their journey to communities in and around the area and beyond.
About ninety (90) school children of the St. Anthony R.C. Basic School at Husikope also cross the stream on daily basis to and fro school. These school pupils live in communities such as Masape, Sayikope, Anekpo and parts of Tsetsekpo which are at the Adidome end of the bridge. These pupils at all cost have to cross the stream to school for their lessons.
District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, Hon. Divine Osborne Fenu has since visited the accident scene with engineers and some officials of the Assembly to assess the situation and the damage caused.

Speaking to our newsteam in an interview after the inspection, Mr. Fenu gave the assurance that government would reconstruct the collapsed bridge pretty soon. Even though the DCE did not give time lines, he said the bridge and road are strategic, explaining that government cannot afford to ignore its reconstruction.
The DCE expressed concern about earlier reports suggesting that some unscrupulous individuals and saboteurs had begun removing some bolts and knots from the steel bridge before its collapse and cautioned the general public against what he described as such diabolical and unpatriotic acts against the state. ‘The law will deal with anyone caught in such a nation-wrecking act’, Hon. Fenu warned.

The North Tongu DCE confirmed the weak nature of the bridge, explaining that it was that situation that compelled the road authorities to put up notices at both ends of the facility alerting pedestrians and other road users about the state of the bridge, constructed in 1998 by Kasap Construction Company Limited.

According to him, plans were far advanced since late last year to carry out some maintenance work on the bridge after assessments and estimates were done by engineers, adding that the work delayed because of all the attention on the Akosombo dam spillage disaster.

Hon. Fenu stressed the need for the residents of the area not only to be vigilant but also apprehend or report such bolt and knot-removing saboteurs for the law to deal with them.

At the time of filing this story, the cargo truck with registration number GR 7325-17 was still trapped in the collapsed bridge in the Aklakpa river, eight (8) days after the incident.

According to Road Safety officials who had assessed the situation and unsuccessfully attempted removing the truck and the bridge, told our newsteam that they would require a bigger crane to be in a better position to execute the assignment.
The sixty (60) to seventy (70) metre long bridge is one of the two (2) steel bridges in addition to one (1) concrete one linking several communities between Adidome and Juapong. The bridge has not seen any major renovation or maintenance work since its construction twenty-six (26) years ago.

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