Construction of ‘drive-through’ bridge over Chemu Lagoon to start next week

Government has initiated processes to construct a permanent concrete bridge over the Chemu Lagoon to connect Ablekuma West and Ablekuma South constituencies in Accra after the only bridge on the lagoon was swept away last week.

Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra Metro, Mohammed Adjei Sowa who revealed this said the contractor for the project is expected to be on site from next week for work to begin in earnest.

The contractor has already cordoned off the area for the construction of the new permanent bridge which Mr Adjei Sowa said, will not be a footbridge but a drive through bridge to connect to the Dansoman area from Chorkor.

He made the revelation Saturday when he joined the people of Chorkor for a Zoomlion Ghana Limited-organised clean up exercise to desilt gutters and drains within the community to avert flooding as the rains set in.

The exercise, which was joined by the Minister for Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea and MP for Ablekuma South Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, also saw the team inspect ongoing dredging of the heavily choked Chemu Lagoon by Dredge Masters, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies.

A suspending bridge constructed by the MP for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in January this year to connect ensure free movement of people from Chorkor to Shiabu was swept away by chocked waste materials last Sunday following a downpour in Accra.

The collapse of the bridge has cut off easy movement of people from the two communities who frequent the two areas.

“There’s high traffic on this corridor and it [the bridge] ought to be done. We are hoping that by next week, the contractor will be on site. It will be done ASAP so that movement will be free,” Mr Adjei Sowa assured the residents of the area.

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He indicated that the new bridge will not just “be a footbridge; it will be a drive through”.

The Metro chief executive said crossing the Lagoon has become a scary adventure for the people in the area, particularly school children

“In fact if you see the number of school kids that cross the bridge you will marvel…Sometimes it is very scaring”.

He described the new bridge to be done under the Coastal Development Authority as a “very important project”.

Need for attitudinal change

Commenting on the clean-up exercise, Mr Adjei Sowa underscored the need for attitudinal change and enforcement of sanitation by laws in the country to prevent the annual flooding during the rainy season.

“Once people appreciate the need to ensure and live in a cleaner environment, communities will begin to keep their surroundings clean at all times,” he stated.

He observed that the drains from the Chorkor township which flows into the Chemu Lagoon have become a major problem because these drains which have now been de-silted, choke all the time.

“Once it is cleared, you’ll always avoid flooding around this time.  We are opening the waterways to enable us have a clean environment [and] have a flood free environment” he stated.

“We will continue to de-silt and we are hoping that the people also will continue to abide by the rules and will not choke the drains with filth”.

Let’s de-silt our gutters

Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea said the Ghana Meteorological Agency is forecasting the rains this year “will be slightly above normal” which means that there will be heavy inundation of rains.

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He said when the many open drains and gutters are left choked; there will be rain run-off which could cause flooding.

“The floods have the tendency to even destroy lives, livelihood and properties,” he stated, adding that in anticipation of the rains, “we should try and desilt our gutters so that when there is a heavy rainfall pattern you will find the sewerage running through the channels”.

“We are waking up the consciousness of Ghanaians that we should desilt our gutters so that whenever we have a downpour we are not going to experience the crisis we’ve gone through before,” Mr Atta Akyea said.

MP for Ablekuma South, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, stressed the need to work together to maintain the highest level of cleanliness in this era of the coronavirus pandemic.

He observed the infrastructure in the Chorkor community, particularly the roads and drains, need upgrade but said until such a time, the people have to ensure they clean their gutters and avoid indiscriminate dumping of waste.

“Right now you can see that the gutter is not flowing as it should,” he observed as he joined the people in the area to remove all the waste that had filled the gutters.