Kpeshie Lagoon bridge works stall; 5 year- old project turns more dangerous

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A bridge spanning the Kpeshie Lagoon at La near Accra remains uncompleted, more than five years after a portion of the road was diverted to make way for repair works.

The concrete bridge that decks the water was weak, hence the decision to construct an adjunct steel bridge to make way for the substantive one to be rehabilitated.

However, after more than five years, the project is in limbo, posing more danger to motorists and other road users, as the diversion has created a sharp turn to the left for traffic flowing from the Accra end of the Accra-Tema beach road. The present state of the

bridge, which links road users from Tema, Nungua, Teshie to La, Osu and the central business district of Accra, has become a source of concern to drivers and other motorists who ply the route on a daily basis.

Background

In 2013, immediate remedial works on the bridge became necessary to guarantee the safety of road users after the dilapidated concrete structure generated cracks and exposed some rusty iron rods, making it frail and dangerous to use.

However, the project, which began in November 2013, with a schedule to be completed by December of that same year, came to a halt after personnel of the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces constructed a Bailey Bridge on the mid-section of the Kpeshie Lagoon to enable the free flow of traffic, while repair work was carried out on the La-Teshie-Nungua section of the bridge.

The Kpeshie Bridge, which was scheduled to be reconstructed along with the widening of the 16.1-kilometre La Beach road, is yet to see any reconstruction.

The bridge witnesses heavy vehicular and human traffic on a daily basis because of its strategic location of linking Accra to Tema.

We are worried

In an interview, some drivers who ply the beach road expressed worry about the government’s inability to proceed with repair works after mounting the 36-metre Bailey Bridge.

According to them, the earlier assurances that the repair works would be completed in no time appeared to be a mirage, almost five years after the project was abandoned.

One of the drivers, who gave his name as Isaac Bortey, said even though the Bailey Bridge appeared to be in good condition, he got scared anytime he had to use the Teshie-bound portion of the dual carriageway where the bridge is located.

He, therefore, appealed to the government to take a second look at the project.

Another driver, Mr Jacob Vanderpuije, who resides in Teshie, also expressed his frustration over the delay of the project.

Mr Vanderpuije, who plies the road at least five times a week, said he got scared anytime he approached the bridge.

“I understand the government has priority projects it is dealing with, but this is equally a priority project that needs to be looked at, especially because human lives are involved,” he said.

Urban Roads reacts

When contacted, the Deputy Director of the Department of Urban Roads, Mr Akwasi Nuamah, assured the public that the project would be completed soon.

He indicated that the project, which was almost complete, came to a halt due to the unavailability of funds.

He said the contractor, China Water and Electric Company, was owed some money, hence the delay.

He explained that the contractor had raised some certificates which were being processed to make some funds available soon to enable the contractor to complete the project.

La Beach road

Mr Nuamah further indicated that the 16.1-kilometre Accra-Tema Beach road, which starts from the Independence Arch through the Nungua Barrier to the Tema Harbour Roundabout, had also been earmarked for expansion.

The deputy director stated that the processes on the expansion works were far advanced and expressed the hope that the project would begin before the end of the year.

According to Mr Nuamah, the expansion would see the 16.1-kilometre stretch converted into a dual carriageway on the entire length.

Kofi Atinka

Kofi Atinka