The Government, through the Ministry of Roads and Highways, has earmarked GH¢5 million to fix all road networks in areas affected by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam.
The amount includes maintenance work to be carried out on the Lower Volta Bridge, also known as the Sogakope Bridge, to fix any damage that may have occurred because of the spillage.
Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, Minister of Roads and Highways, disclosed this when he paid a working visit to the area to obtain firsthand information on the impact of the spillage on road networks in the area and assess the condition of the Sogakope Bridge.
He said the government was greatly concerned about the impact of the spillage on road networks in the area especially the Sogakope Bridge.
He said he had, therefore, directed the Coordinator of the Roads Fund to set aside an amount of GH¢5 million for repair works of affected roads especially the Bridge.
“The Road Fund is there for road maintenance, we have little money in there but because of the emergency we are experiencing, His Excellence the President has directed that we should do everything possible to ameliorate the effect of this disaster so, on the strength of that authority, I have directed the Road Fund Coordinator to set that aside, informing the Board to set it aside for this exercise.
“So at least, we have some legs to stand on, that is, we have initial GH¢5 million to tackle the roads particularly the Bridge,” he said.
The Minister was accompanied by some officials and engineers of the Ministry and the Ghana Highway Authority, including Alhaji Dr Abass, Chief Director, Ministry of Roads and Highways; Mr James Amoo-Gottfried, Director of Urban Roads, Thomas Mbomba, Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways.
The rest are; Mr Yakub Koray, Director of Bridges, Ghana Highways Authority; Mr Collins Donkor, Acting Chief Executive, Ghana Highway Authority; Mr Lawrence L. Lamptey, Deputy Chief Executive in-charge of Maintenance, Ghana Highway Authority, Mr Cecil Nii Obodai Wentum, Acting Directpr Public Affairs, Ghana Highway Authority.
The Lower Volta Bridge is a 650-meter-long bridge on the N1 highway, which links the border town of Aflao to Accra through Sogakope to Sokpoe over the Volta River.
It was constructed between January 1965 and January 1967 by two German contractors and rehabilitated in 2017.
Mr Amoako-Atta said the government viewed the Bridge as a national asset, which must be protected at all costs, adding that, plans were far advanced to replace worn-out groynes on the Bridge to protect lives and property.
Already, he said the Ministry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Tema-based construction firm, MC, to undertake repair works on the Bridge to make it stronger and extend its lifespan.
“The major exercise we want to undertake as part of our maintenance programme is to change all worn-out expansion groynes, we have 18 of them on this stretch and we have already entered into agreement with a company based in Tema, the company is MC, they have even imported all the expansion Guynes, we have already had existing MoU with the company almost three months now and work will start very soon,” he said.
The Minister assured that the Bridge was “strong”, allaying fears of the public particularly motorists of any eminent danger.
“We want to assure everybody – the chiefs and people of this area, the District Chief Executive of this area, people of this country, all those who use this route because it is a national asset, that the Bridge is solid, strong and all the maintenance work will be carried out,” he emphasised.
Dozens of people have been displaced with properties running into thousands destroyed in communities located at the Lower Basin of the Volta River following the spillage of excess water from the Akosombo Dam which occurred on September 15, 2023.
Mr Yakub Koray, Director of Bridges, Ghana Highways Authority, said since October 13, 2023, water flowing through the Bridge had been stable, adding that they did not anticipate any emergency response.
However, he indicated that plans were in place to protect the vulnerable part of the Bridge such as the approach route, including the use of sandbags to forestall any unforeseen circumstances.
“That will be triggered as soon as we get information from VRA that there are further discharges about to take place. We have two days to respond from when we have that information and our plans are adequate for us to achieve our mitigation measures,” he assured.