Lower Volta Bridge Under Threat

The Lower Volta Bridge that connects motorists from Tema to Aflao across the Volta River is under serious threat due to sand winning activities in the river. The 650-metre bridge may soon collapse if the authorities fail to act quickly on the sand winning activities that are on the ascendency. The sand winning, which takes place close to the bridge, is creating craters in the river bed. The water current as a result, is also creating a gaping hole at the base of the bridge, thereby exposing it to danger. The cycle is gradually washing away the sand at the foundation of the bridge, exposing its pillars. The situation, if it persists, would cause the pillars to become weak and subsequently cause the bridge to collapse. DAILY GUIDE investigations revealed that some new hospitality owners along the river banks contract people to win the sand for the creation of beaches. When DAILY GUIDE visited the area, a heap of sand had been mined from the river close to the bridge by some new hotel owners. The sand winners had already fixed a machine in the river, connected with a long pipe ready to begin operation. Even though checks indicated that the South Tongu District Assembly in the Volta Region had warned the sand winners to desist from the practice, it appeared they were not heeding the directive because of political connections, sources told this paper. Concerned residents around the Sogakope Township who spoke to DAILY GUIDE, appealed to government to, as a matter of agency, stop the sand winning activity before the bridge is affected. The Lower Volta Bridge was built 42 years ago by two German contractors, A.H.I. BAV AG DVSSEL DORF HELD and FRANCE-BAV AG. MVNICH, between January, 1965 and January 1967. The bridge, which links Southern Volta and Lagos-Abidjan West Africa Highway, had seen some repairs in recent years. However, it has been observed that the culture of regular and constant maintenance had eluded the structure. A concerned resident of Aflao told this paper that the increased volume of traffic on the bridge, including heavy duty trucks day and night, was causing severe wear and tear on the bridge. “The sand winning may therefore fast-track its collapse,” he stressed.