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General News
Adomi Bridge In danger 7/11/2008

The Adomi Bridge, one of the most famous and treasured edifices in Ghana, which links the south-eastern part of the country to the Volta and northern regions has developed serious cracks and will be closed to traffic tomorrow.

A legacy dating back to the mid 1950s, the Adomi Bridge is, according to highway authorities, the main means by which an average of 120,000 workers, traders and tourists cross the Volta River daily to and from the eastern corridor and northern regions of the country.

With the continued plying of the bridge by heavy duty trucks since it was opened in 1956 by the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah, then Head of Government Business, one of the steel beams supporting it has collapsed, while two others have developed serious cracks, resulting in a depression on a section of the bridge.

As a result of the fact that the two beams had been disabled, the remaining supporting beams have taken on the additional load of 880 tonnes of steel which the bridge is made of and experts say this can lead to the collapse of the bridge.

Fear of that possibility has led to a situation where many more commuters have resorted to canoes, which offer alternative means of crossing the river from Atimpoku in the Eastern Region to Juapong in the Volta Region.

Some residents of Atimpoku told the Daily Graphic that the problem was first detected about two months ago by some fishermen who made several reports to the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA).

The seriousness of the situation became clear on Wednesday when some engineers of the authority inspected the bridge to assess the extent of damage and find out what could be done immediately to save the situation.

After the inspection, the engineers told Daily Graphic that it was too early to comment and that they would do so after they had prepared a full report on the cause and extent of the damage.

The Director of Public Affairs of the GHA, Mr Norbert B. Quarmor, said as part of measures to prevent the problem from deteriorating, the GHA would close the bridge from tomorrow for repair works expected to be completed on August 2.

During the works, he said, the GHA would tackle the major cracks on the steel beam, while minor problems would also be given due attention.

To reduce the pressure exerted on the bridge by heavy duty vehicles, he said another toll booth would be placed at the Juapong end of the bridge, while a mobile axle weighing equipment would be installed at the Atimpoku end to check the weight of heavy vehicles that used it.

Mr Quarmor said although the specific cause of the cracks on the steel beams had not been established, they could be the result of overloading, frequent use of the facility, vibration and fatigue.

On maintenance of the facility, he said the pending three-week repair work would be the second to be carried out in the history of the 52-year-old bridge, besides the periodic maintenance work such as the scrapping and painting of the metal cables holding the deck, as well as the removal of worn-out parts of the facility.

He added that on the average about 2,537 vehicles from both sides used the facility every day.

Source: Graphic

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