The Ministry of Roads and Highways, has installed axle load centres at the Buipe and the Yapei bridges to ensure that only vehicles with the permissible weight are allowed to cross.
The Ministry has also stationed a mobile axle load vehicle between the two bridges to assist in the enforcement of the axle load requirements.
The sector Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in an interview, explained that the decision was to ensure a longer life span for the rehabilitated bridges until new ones were constructed to replace them.
Closure of two bridges
Last September, the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) set load limits for vehicles using the two bridges to save them from further deterioration. Consequently, only vehicles weighing 20 tonnes or less are allowed to cross the bridges.
But, on November 20, 2017, the GHA, acting on the instructions of the sector minister, closed down the two bridges for major maintenance works on them.
The four-week repair/maintenance works, which cost the ministry more than GH¢4 million, has brought the bridges back to life.
Mr Amoako-Attah said the objective was to ensure that “we do not embark on any complete closure again until new bridges have been built and also not to subject our people to such inconvenience again”.
He said as part of the measures put in place to ensure the longevity of the two bridges, the ministry would keep “an eagle eye” on both bridges and ensure routine maintenance on them.
The idea, he explained, was to ensure that the two bridges did not degenerate to a state that would warrant a complete closure again.
Justifying the four-week total closure of the two bridges, Mr Amoako-Attah explained that the decision bordered on national security and was to avoid a “national catastrophe”, as the two bridges had long gone past their life spans.
“In November when we visited the bridges, we realised that almost all the 19 joints of each bridge were separated from the concrete slabs, with some of the slabs cracked.
“The whole superstructure of each bridge was vibrating and swinging with the slightest weight passing on them. I was amazed to see them at that state,” he said.
He commended the chiefs and the people of the two communities and the motoring public for exercising patience and endurance during the four weeks that the bridges were closed, adding that it was a necessary evil and a move to save lives.
Mr Amoako-Attah also expressed gratitude to the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Salifu Sa-ed, for the instrumental role they played during the repair works.