The closure of the dilapidated Buipe and Yapei bridges in the Northern Region is necessary to avert a national disaster and its rippling effects should they collapse.
In the meantime, motorists travelling to and from the Northern Region are advised to use alternative routes and adhere to directional and safety signs provided at appropriate sections along the routes.
The Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) with effect from Wednesday, November 22, 2017, closed down the dilapidated bridges, which posed serious risks to motorists and pedestrians, to undertake repair works in the next four weeks at an estimated cost of GHC 4 million.
Kwasi Amoako-Atta, the Roads and Highways Minister, briefing Parliament on Wednesday, mentioned the alternative routes as the Western Corridor, Eastern Corridor and the Central Corridor routes.
According to the Minister, there are further actions to improve the alternative routes. Also the contractor currently working on the Oti Damanko –Yendi Section has been asked to improve diversions and safety management to accommodate increased traffic and different vehicles types accommodated.
He indicated that the 95 km section from Yendi –Tamale is in fair condition as isolated potholes found are to be patched by the pothole patching contractor on the stretch; and the Ministry is in consultations with the Volta Lake Transport Company for the provision of an additional ferry to the Yeji-Makango crossing to ease congestion.
Due to the advanced state of the deterioration of the bridges, the Minister said the service life of the bridges cannot be extended by any level of repair works, and the available option is a project to construct bridges, expected to be completed in two years.
The project includes detailed engineering design and construction of two bridges at Buipe and Yapei, each of a length of approximately 230 metres, detailed engineering design and construction of one bridge at Daboya of length approximately 250 metres, detailed engineering design and construction of approach roads to the bridges and installation of facilities such as toll plazas and street lights.
The Minister said a two-stage procurement method has been adopted for the construction of new bridges to replace existing ones and arrangements are already underway by the Government of Ghana in that regard.
“The advertisement of pre-qualification of contractors was done on October 9, 2017, and the deadline for submission was November 3, 2017,” Mr Amoako Atta said, adding that, “expressions of interest for prequalification of contractors are currently being evaluated, and it is expected to be completed by Thursday, November 30, 2017.”
He announced that tender documents for the second stage of the procurement process for the submission of bids by prequalified contractors will be issued by December 4, 2017.
The Minister said due to current financial challenges, tenderers will be required, as a part of the procurement process, to pre-finance or source for funding for the execution of the project under terms and conditions agreed by the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Amoako-Atta announced that the Ministry was in touch with the Ghana Health Service, which is currently providing emergency services at the Yeji and Makango ferry points.
The Police and the Military are also providing security services on the diverted routes and at the bridge sites.