A 79-year-old concrete bridge over River Okye on the main Breman Asikuma–Akyem Oda road has collapsed.
The bridge, already showing signs of weakness, collapsed after the river overflowed its banks following a downpour.
It has, consequently, separated adjoining communities and cut off direct links among different areas.
Among the affected communities are Ochisoa, Fosuansa, Jamra, Kokoso, Benin, Brakwa, Asentem and Amanfopong, all in the Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District of the Central Region;
Oda in the Birim Central District and Akyem Swedru, Akyem Ewisa and Akyem Achiase all in the Birim South District of the Eastern Region.
Teachers, nurses, traders and other workers, who commute between Jamra and Asikuma on daily basis, were kept at bay at the two ends of the expanded river banks yesterday morning, as vehicular traffic thickened on both ends.
Some commuters abandoned the idea of going to work altogether, while others resorted to a longer alternative route to reach their workplaces.
Agricultural produce such as cassava, maize, plantain, vegetables, cocoa, oil palm could not be transported to the marketing centres.
As an emergency measure, the district assembly started grading a long-abandoned feeder road to divert traffic through Benin to Asuoko-Jamra to ease the chaotic situation that prevailed yesterday in the area.
Some drivers, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, called on the government to immediately fix the damaged bridge since it would be more expensive and time-consuming using the alternative route.
According to them, the destruction of the bridge had brought untold hardship on them since they would have to spend more hours travelling through the alternative route to their various destinations.
A resident of Aboradze Number One, Ohemaa Esi Tutuwaa, urged the assembly to speed up the construction of the alternative route.
Reconstruction beyond assembly
In an interview, the District Chief Executive of the area, Mr Isaac Odoom, said the cost of reconstructing the bridge was beyond the financial strength of the assembly, adding that a report would be made to the appropriate quarters for the needed action.
He urged the road users to bear with the situation as the assembly took the needed steps to assess the extent of damage so as to pave way for the reconstruction of the bridge by government.
The New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for the area, Mr Anthony Effah, appealed to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to construct a bailey bridge to replace the damaged one as soon as possible to restore economic activities to the area.