Youth in the Bantama constituency in the Ashanti Region has threatened to stage a protest against the government over an abandoned bridge in the area which they say has become a death trap.
The enraged youth say they will not hesitate to call out the Member of Parliament for the constituency, Francis Asenso-Boakye, as part of the ongoing #FixTheCountry campaign.
“We will not vote again because we have had enough of their lives. Our representatives in the parliament house continue to let us down. We’re warning Asenso not to take us for granted this time around”, one of them said.
The bridge served as a connection between Sofoline and Bohyen: with a left turn to Abrepo-Barekese and a right branch to Bantama. It has however been abandoned since its collapse in 2005 and has since become a nightmare for residents.
The bridge used to be in good shape in the early 2000s but it got so bad that two vehicles traveling in opposite directions risked head-on collision, especially at the junction.
Between the years 2002 and 2004, the bridge deteriorated to the point where if it rained heavily, the stream overflowed into the road and floods the area.
The bridge was completely destroyed by a heavy rainfall towards in 2005. It truncated the link-up road and vehicles have since not been able to use the road from Sofoline to Bohyen.
People in the surrounding communities and towns are worried about the development.
“We were suffering during those periods during the rainy seasons because it became difficult to ply the road and the bridge was crumbling, our children’s struggled to go to school”, a resident lamented.
The people say if it rains in the morning, schools would have to be closed and that if it rained in the afternoon, students would have to stay in school past regular school hours to wait for the floods to subside.
There have been stories about how people have in the past been washed away in their attempt to cross the broken bridge during rainy days. Others still attempt to cross but that comes with a lot of risk, a resident explained.
As a stopgap, the people of the surrounding communities together with some churches in the area improvised a wooden structure which did stand the test of time. It was later replaced with a metal one which is now being used.
According to sources, the NDC-led government attempted to fix the bridge but the contractor went missing after a short while.
The people say criminals have taken advantage of the situation of the torment the lives of resident creating an environment of fear and panic. According to them, it has become unsafe for them to cross the bridge after 8pm. The locals are concerned and want something to be done about it right away. The community is pleading with the government to help them.
Contributor: Anane Prince, Student Journalist (GIJ)