Residents of Balungu and its adjoining communities in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region have expressed disappointment at the government over its failure to complete the construction of the Bongo-Balungu Bridge, two years after cutting the sod.
The furious residents described the action of the government towards the wellbeing of the people in the area as very deceptive after its inability to continue with construction works a few months after work started in July 2018.
The Bongo-Balungu Bridge sits on the eight-kilometer stretch of road from Bongo, the district capital, to Namoo, Ghana’s border to neighbouring Burkina Faso, and was constructed in 2003.
The major link road has been left to deteriorate and caused many accidents including loss of lives and properties.
In 2016, the bridge caved in, making it a death trap to users especially anytime it rains.
The road links several communities in the district and serves as the main route of the people, whenever, they want to access health care at the district hospital, education and engage in economic activities in Bongo, the district capital.
Some of the communities affected include Balungu, Lungu, Sambolgo, Nayorigo, Namoo, Kansoe, Goo, Kodorogo, Kanga, Gambrongo, Tarongo, Awaa, Kadare, Bokom, Sikabiisia and many more, forcing the people to use alternative routes including Feo-Soe road or Vea-Gowrie road, which are very long distances, whenever, they want to access the district capital.
The situation had further compelled vehicle users travelling from Bolgatanga to Burkina Faso and vice versa to use the Paga route instead of the Bongo road, which is shorter, making the Assembly lose huge sums of revenue each year.
As a result of the difficult situation, residents and opinion leaders in the district particularly from the Balungu Community undertook several demonstrations and appealed to the government to fix the road.
In July 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the Bongo-Balungu-Namoo road including the Bongo-Balungu bridge and other bridges within the Bongo District to bring relief to the people and promote economic growth.
The project was awarded to DAMIT Enterprise and was expected to be completed in 2019.
However, few months after the start of the project, works on the facility stalled and when the Ghana News Agency visited the site recently, it was observed that the rains had further widened the river beneath the bridge and prevented people from crossing.
Mr Edward Asekere, the Assemblymember for Balungu Electoral Area told GNA that the collapsed bridge was making life difficult for all in the area and appealed to the government through the District Assembly to facilitate the work before the heavy rains set in.
When the GNA contacted Mr Peter Ayamga Ayinbisa, the District Chief Executive for the area, he expressed regret that the project after almost two years was not completed and said the situation had adversely affected every sector of the district.
“The bridge has affected the district severely if there is another word to appropriately describe the situation I would use it because people have lost their lives and properties through the bridge, education, healthcare, economic activities, and the Assembly’s revenue mobilization have all been adversely affected,” he lamented.
The DCE assured the people of the district that he was making efforts to ensure that the government secured funding to complete the construction.