Story: Samuel Duodu, Acherensua.
FOUR paramount areas and a divisional council in the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo Region have appealed to the government and the Ministry of Roads as a matter of urgency to rehabilitate the bridge over the Tano River on the Acherensua-Ntotroso-Sunyani Highway.
According to them, the bridge, which links the Ahafo side of the region to Sunyani, the regional capital, and the Brong side, has become a death trap and could not be used anytime the river over flowed its banks making travelling on it dangerous to human life.
The Paramount areas, namely Acherensua, Hwidiem, Kenyasi Number One and Two and the Ntotroso Divisional Council made the appeal when the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo paid separate courtesy calls on the councils as part of his one-day working visit to the district.
The calls were also to thank Nananom in the district for helping to ensure peace before, during and after election 2008 which saw President J.E.A. Mills and his government assuming the reigns of power and also to afford the regional minister the opportunity to interact with Nananom and their people to know their problems at first hand.
The councils added that the bridge, which was contructed in the 1960s through community initiative, has not seen any rehabilitation ever since and thought the bridge could have been given the same attention when the road was reconstructed recently.
They, therefore, expressed the hope that President Mills’ government would take up the rehabilitation of the bridge to make it safe.
The four paramount areas and the divisional chief also appealed for the rehabilitation of the Kenyasi-Hwidiem road which is also in a deporable state.
The Omanhene of Acherensua Traditional Area, Agyewodin (Prof) Adu Gyamfi Ampem was first to narrate his harrowing experience on the bridge and said he nearly lost his life recently when he attempted crossing the bridge on his way from Sunyani to Acherensua.
Nana Ampem added that he and his entourage would have drowned in the river which had over flowed its banks and had completely submerged the bridge at that time, and added that because the gods of his ancestors resided in the forest close to the river, he was saved by them and was able to cross to safety.
The Acherensua Omanhene noted that education was the bedrock of every society and appealed to the government to establish one of the campuses of the University of Renewable Energy Resources promised the region by the government, in Acherensua since the area has a senior high school(SHS).
Nana Ampem also appealed for the construction of a bailey bridge over the confluence of the Kuasu and Abu rivers to make the transportation of cocoa and other food crops from Asushieyie and its environs to the maketing centres easy.
Barima Twereko Ampem, the Divisional Chief of Ntotroso for his part said the Bantamahene, Baffour Asare Owusu Amankwatia V, who came to represent the Asantehene during their recent annual Apomasu festival, nearly lost his life on that same bridge.
He added that the Bantamahene and his entourage had to take a detour to save their lives, “I am therefore appealing to the government to rehabilitate the bridge to ensure safety” .
The Akwamuhene and Acting President of Hwidiem Traditional Council, Nana Twei Adjei Baffour I, called on the assembly to complete the structures at the new Hwidiem market, sited along the Hwidiem-Kenyasi road to enable traders who often traded on the main streets of the town on market days to move there since the situation had often led to accidents and knocking down of children by vehicles on market days.
Nana Kofi Abiri, Omanhene of Kenyasi Number One and Odeneho Dadeako Nsiah Ababio, Omanhene of Kenyasi Number Two both appealed for the rehabilitation of the Kenyasi-Hwidiem road which they said was in a deporable state.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo, who later inspected the bridge in his response during the separate courtesy calls, gave the assurance that the regional highways office had done some evaluation work on the bridge but were yet to submit the report to his office which he would forward to the Ministry of Roads for immediate attention.
He further gave the assurance that the government would continue to put in place pragmatic measures to improve on the economy and the general welfare of Ghanaians and therefore appealed to the people to exercise restraint as they would begin to see signs on the ground very soon.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo , who was accompanied by Mr Eric Addae, the Asutifi Distrit Chief Executive, told Nananom to advise the youth who spoke and phoned-in to radio stations to speak with decorum and desist from attacking personalities on air since it did not augur well for the good of the nation.