Roads Minister, Kwasi Amoako Atta has defended the closure of the Buipe and Yapei bridges in the Northern Region, saying they could have collapsed.
He told Parliament Wednesday, works on the bridges are “absolutely necessary” to avert a possible national catastrophe in the event of a collapse.
But he assured Ghanaians, the government will expedite maintenance works to ensure that they are ready within four weeks.
Hundreds stranded over closure of Buipe and Yapei bridges
The sudden closure of the two bridges that connect the southern and northern parts of the country, has left hundreds of passengers and motorists stranded.
Related Article: Dozens stranded, fares soar over closure of Buipe, Yapei bridges
The situation has created an economy where transport operators are reportedly charging exorbitant fares in order to use long and rough alternative routes.
Joy News’ Upper East Regional Correspondent, Albert Sore has reported the alternative routes have added “four solid hours” to the travel time.
The effects of the closure are being felt by residents in Accra as prices of foodstuff continue to rise by the day.
The price of a bag of onion has shot up from ¢200 to ¢250 within the spate of three days, Joy News’ Maxwell Agbagba reported, after visiting the Agblogbloshie Market in Accra Monday.
Member of Parliament (MP) for the Yapei Kusawgu Constituency, John Jinapor has blamed the Roads Ministry for the inconvenience the closure has caused, saying the action was not well communicated.
“There wasn’t an ample time for communication and dissemination of information [because] one of the key people [to consult] is the MP [because] I represent the people in this august house [but] I was not,” he said.
Yapei Kusagu Member of Parliament (MP), John Jinapor
Although Mr Amoako Atta did not confirm if the MP was consulted, he said he had “extensive consultation” with the "chiefs and opinion leaders" in the area.
He said the Ministry also met with officials of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Progressive Transport Owners Association (PROTOA), and representatives of drivers from neighbouring Burkina Faso, to discuss the matter.
“We have assured them of government’s efforts at expediting works on the bridges,” he told his colleagues in Parliament.
But the closure was “critical and absolutely necessary” to avoid a national disaster, Mr Amoako Atta added.
The repair works on the Buipe and Yapei bridges are estimated to cost ¢4million and they are expected to be completed in four weeks.