PHOTO: Tano Bridge Collapses

The unpatriotic conduct of some scrap dealers has led to the collapse of a bridge over River Tano, near Sambreboi in the Wassa Amenfi West District of the Western region. As a result of this, tonnes of cocoa beans, timber, wood products, foodstuffs and other essential commodities have been locked up and cannot be conveyed to the Takoradi Port and other marketing centres. People and goods are now ferried across the river on hand-dug canoes, and young men are also doing brisk business since they carry most goods. In order to be ferried across the almost 80-meter long Tano River on the outskirts of Sambreboi, a passenger is expected to pay GH˘1. Thus goods and passengers from Asankragwa and its environs to Sambreboi and Enchi are left behind the Tano River, near Freetown or the other side of Sambreboi. A journey from Asankragwa to Sambreboi now takes over two hours because one has to do a detour, in addition to the high fares charged. Samuel Victor Meisu, District Chief Executive (DCE) of Wassa Amenfi West District Assembly told Daily Graphic at the site that the bridge collapsed on 2nd August 2011. He added that some unscrupulous people allegedly removed eight metal pinlocks firmly attached to the main bridge, stressing that the bridge collapsed while a timber truck carrying timber belonging to Samartex, a timber company based in Sambreboi was crossing it. There were no casualties, but Samartex had to adopt engineering tactics to retrieve the truck and timber from a section of the collapsed bridge. The DCE disclosed that he informed the Sector Minister, Ghana Highway Authority and Feeder Roads about the incident. “We are sure that the authorities would expedite action to alleviate the plight of the people who have to do a detour before reaching their destinations and it is expensive.” He asked the people in the area including passengers to be patient, noting that he would arrange for a bigger and safer canoe to be used in crossing the River Tano. The DCE, who was at the scene with personnel from Regional Feeder Roads, the district engineer and a section of the press noted that the bridge is an important one because it links the people of Asankragwa, Enchi and Sambreboi. According to Fritz Osei-Amoah, Roads Manager of Samartex Timber and Plywood Timber Company Limited, as a result of the collapse of the bridge the timber trucks of the companies travel 240 kilometres from Sambreboi through Wassa Dunkwa and Abutia to the their concession instead of the normal 27-km journey. He appealed to the government to urgently restore the bridge so that goods and services could be transported to their destinations. Korkor Krobo, a foodstuffs dealer told DAILY GUIDE that ”we shall calculate charges on the load and fares and add our profit, so automatically prices of foodstuffs and other services will increase until the bridge is repaired.” Adams Abdulaim, Marketing clerk of Produce Buying Company in the Enchi District, in an interview with the paper, said if government does not expedite action cocoa and foodstuffs would be locked up because it would be too expensive to cart them from the area.