Road Minister grilled over poor handling of Buipe, Yape bridges closure

The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu was critical of the Minister of Roads and Highways for failing to provide alternative routes before the closure of the Buipe and Yape bridges. He also blamed the minister for unduly delaying the entire process when his attention was brought to the condition of the bridges about four months ago. Roads and Highways Minister Amoako Atta had, however, indicated that extensive maintenance works were done on the bridges which necessitated partial closures in February 2017 and March 2017 at the cost of 960,000 Ghana Cedis. The Minister of Roads and Highways Amoako Atta was summoned by the Speaker of Parliament Aaron Mike Oquaye upon application by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu to furnish the august House with detail of what necessitated the closure of the Buipe and Yape bridges. Mr. Amoako Atta was criticised by the Minority Leader on how communications about the closure was handled. He said the communication was “very poor”, noting that the communities and the people were not sensitized and alternative routes were also not provided. Haruna Idrisu accused the government of busying itself with the termination of contracts projects in Hohoe and Jiasikan that would have served as the best alternative routes at this time of need. He therefore charged the government to get the contractors back to site on those eastern corridor roads. Nature of Damage The minister told Parliament that that the edges of all concrete slabs on the Buipe bridge have broken off exposing the reinforcement. He said the riding surface has also developed series of serious cracks, potholes. He further noted that slab bay number 13 has developed a hole on the mid downstream of the concrete slab which was covered with metal plate sometime in 2015. According to him, inspection carried out at the beginning of this year revealed that the hole has widened beyond the width of the metal plate. Bolts on the diagonal bracing of the steel truss have sheared off and the bracing has shifted out of position. He also mentioned that corrosion protection of the steel members has broken down and rusting has set in. An unusual sound emanating from the concrete slab with the movement of vehicles indicates that the shear connectors that hold the concrete slab in position are broken off, he added. In the case of the Yape bridge, Mr. Amoako Atta revealed that a number of the joints of the concrete slabs are showing signs of edge breakage. He observed that the field visit revealed that the situation was very critical, confirming the observations made earlier, noting that the extensive vibration of the detached bridge decks, show that the bridge could collapse without warning. He added that repair works are currently being executed by the Bridge Maintenance Unit of the Ghana Highways Authority. The project is expected to be completed within a period of four weeks at an estimated cost of 4 million cedis. According to the Minister, the only available option is to construct two new bridges at Buipe and Yape scheduled to be completed in two years, each covering approximately 20m and another bridge at Daboya about 250m long.

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