By: Varney Dukuly
BUCHANAN: Fresh report coming from the Port City of Buchanan in Grand Bassa suggests that free movements of people, using vehicles were stalled after discovering an apparent split on St. John River Bridge.
The bridge is located in the suburb of the Political Capital of Buchanan City is among the busiest bridges in Liberia.
The incident occurred on Saturday, June 3, 2023, following some local media reports, highlighting the apparent danger posed by the situation on the bridge and the potential economic constraints that could befall the people, if no tangible is done to address the concerns being raised by travelers along the bridge.
“We just got the information that our people, the citizens, are in panic about the bridge. So, we just came to give update to what is happening, we have dispatched our team of engineers to find out what happened and what we saw happened is that, the bell-ring of the bridge bust, which of course, is an emergency,” said Public Works Minister, Madam Ruth Coker-Collins.
The St. John River Bridge that is situated in Grand Bassa is among Liberia’s oldest infrastructure which connects the people of the South and South-East regions to Monrovia.
Its economic relevance can only be sustained if the Bridge is in good condition.
But, Minister Collins said the situation will not lead to a decision to entirely cut off the free flow of vehicles along the Bassa road corridor.
“We encourage vehicles, smaller ones to ply and we will work with the Ministry of Justice to have heavy vehicles to a limit of traffic on that corridor, we encourage the citizens of Grand Bassa and the entire country to be calm,” added Minister Collins.
She stressed that the bridge’s condition is something that needs immediate intervention but at the time, she said, it is not anything that is going to happen abruptly.
“It is not something as people describing it as ‘Death Trap’ that is why I have to come to clarify this one,” the Public Works Minister pointed out.
Speaking also in response to the situation, the Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Public Works, Kieheeboy Dolo, said the bell-ring that got damaged is a steel bell. He added that additional assessment is required on the bridge in order to bring in new ones.
Dolo: “It has to take couple of months because those bell-rings are not in the country, we have to design the bell-ring according to our current load and be able to import it into our country, so it will take few months.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Public Works Minister Amos Barclay wants the people who are speculating about the status of the bridge to desist and wait on the Ministry to conduct a comprehensive scientific data relative to what is going on.’
“What we can say is for the citizens to remain calm, we have engineers at the Ministry of Public Works who are capable to solving that problem in the soonest possible time,” he said.