The Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta yesterday briefed Members of Parliament (MPs) on the traffic situation in the north following the closure of the Buipe and Yapei bridges in the Northern which are to be rehabilitated at the cost of GH¢4 million within four weeks.
The Minister’s appearance in parliament followed an urgent request made by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday for the Minister to brief the House on alternative arrangements made by the ministry to mitigate the suffering of travelling public who ply between the north and the south for business purposes.
The Minister told parliament that before the bridge was closed on Monday, November 22 for major repair works, announcements were made through the media that some alternative routes had been provided for vehicular traffic and the travelling public.
He mentioned the alternative routes from the South to the North as Accra-Kumasi-Wenchi-Bomboi-Bole-Wa-Tumu-Paga; Takoradi-Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayamfuri-Dunkwa-Obuasi-Kumasi-Techiman-Wenchi-Bamboi-Wa-Tumu–Paga; Accra-Tema-Asikuma Junction-Hohoe-Jasikan-Nkwanti-Oti Damanko-Bimbilla-Yendi-Tamale-Paga; Accra-Tema-Asikuma Junction-Have-Worawora-Jasikan-Nkawnta- Oti Damanko-Bimbilla-Yendi-Tamale-Paga; Accra-Kumasi-Mampong-Ejura-Atebubu-Yeji (Ferry crossing)-Makango-Salaga-Tamale-Paga or Kintampo-Techiman-Nkoranza-Ejura-Atebubu-Yeji (Ferry crossing)-Makango-Salaga-Tamale.
The Minister said that the ministry also met all transport operators and unions like GPRTU, PROTOA, transport owners and representatives of truck drivers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and assured them of government’s determination to complete the repair works within the stipulated time.
He said the ministry was arranging with the Volta Lake Transport Company to provide additional ferries at Yeji-Makango crossing to ease the pressure due to the closure of the bridges.
He said that the Ministry was also in talks with the Ghana Health Service which is currently providing emergency services at the Yeji and Makango ferry points while the police and the military are also providing security services on the diverted routes and at the bridges.
He told parliament that as a permanent solution, the government will be constructing new bridges at Buipe and Yapei, as well as Daboya in two years’ time after extensive engineering works have been done.
Meanwhile, the MP for Sissala East in the Upper West region, Ridwan Dauda Abass, has called on the Ministry of Roads and Highways to urgently attend to the western corridor road, which according to him is in a very bad state to ensure that travellers using that diverted route are comfortable using the road.
According to the Sissala East MP, who was speaking to the press about the effect of the closure of the two bridges, many vehicles and travellers are now using the Techiman-Wenchi,-Bamboi-Bole -Wa,-Tumu- Paga road but since greater portion of that important stretch of road is in a bad condition, travellers waste a lot of time to get to their destinations.
He said the Fian-Tumu-Lilisi stretch of that main road is in a very bad state and therefore asked the Ministry to ask the Chinese contractors working on the road to speed up work on the road.
The MP for Sissala East also called on the hierarchy of the Police Service to ensure that constant police patrols are carried out on that stretch which has witnessed a lot of highway robberies.
“We, the people’s representative from the Upper West Region, will like to request the police service in the Upper West and Northern Regions to intensify their patrol on this stretch of the road because of the fact that now traffic would be increasing on the road following the closure of the bridges at Yapei and Buipe.”
By Thomas Fosu Jnr