In the past fortnight, the story about two major bridges in the country made negative headlines. The partial closure of the Buipe and Yapei bridges over the Black and White Volta respectively was necessitated by the need to undertake urgent repair works on the two facilities – the engineering exercise on them having been overdue.
We have heard the concerns of people whose lives have been inconvenienced by the closure; economic activities in the Northern Regions having been affected largely as a consequence.
As expected in local politics, some politicians have sought to point at the inappropriateness of the works at this time. There is actually nothing wrong with ordering a rehabilitation exercise on these critical bridges at this time. When, if we may ask, would be more appropriate?
Not inconveniencing the traveling public and business people at this time and allowing the cracks to widen, as it were, would be unacceptable. That would have been postponing disaster to a later date. For us, therefore, the inconveniences we are suffering now are better than the lurking danger in using dilapidated bridges half a century old.
The issue of the two bridges brings to the fore very important matters worthy of consideration by policymakers. It is ill-advised to have one route to a part of the country as in the case of the two bridges – the only usable and convenient link with the North: the Yeji alternative not especially ideal because of the unreliability of the ferries at the place.
We are aware of the alternative routes to the Northern Regions in spite of which reality we do know too that these are longer in terms of distance.
Perhaps the authorities should have rehabilitated the ferries at Yeji to contain the expected traffic before the closure of the two bridges.
For security purposes, it is better to have alternative routes to the Northern Regions as in the case of other parts of the country. That there is only one route to Kumasi does not make for security.
In the case of the Northern Regions, the Eastern Corridor about which so much has been written and it is amazing that to date the end of the assignment is nowhere in sight.
Another issue we think that policymakers should take onboard is the dualisation of our major roads to eliminate the dangers associated with head-on collisions occasioned by reckless overtaking among other inconveniences.
The kitty of the state does not have enough in it, we know, but it is our position that with the prudent management of our resources, a feature of the crop of Ghanaians at the helm today, we can do something in this direction.
A mono way linking the two major cities of Accra and Kumasi in this day and age is unacceptable. It would be in our interest to consider as a long-term project the dualisation of this major highway and to also think about constructing an alternative route to the Garden City.
At a time when these suggestions should have been uppermost, we are still struggling to cover the pothole riddled intra-city and feeder roads across the country; the wages of non-prioritisation of projects.
If we allow those at the helm now to work and spare them the useless media cacophony, they would achieve a lot in the direction of infrastructure.