Credible information reaching Today indicates that massive ticket racketeering is now eating into the daily revenue realisation of Pontoon services on the Adomi Bridge at Atimpoku in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern region.
According to commuters and travelers who use the pontoon, ticket racketeering has been a major daily business for some conductors working on the Pontoons.
The pontoons were provided by the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) and the ministry of roads and highways (MoRH) to help commuters cross the Volta river from Atimpoku to Akrade after the closure of Adomi Bridge for repair works.
When contacted some conductors on the pontoon refused to comment on the issue and instead asked our reporter to speak to officials of the ministry of roads and highways and Ghana highways authority.
Attempts by Today to seek clarification from the two State institutions- GHA, (MoRH) proved futile as the phones of their Public Relations Officers (PROs) respectively were off as of press time yesterday.
The visibly angry commuters hinted Today of their acknowledgement of the existence of “some people” who print fake Pontoon tickets with the help of some conductors since the commencement of the services provided by the ferries.
They described the situation as “insensitive and wickedness,” saying the development is worsening the ferry services and called on government to introduce electronic ticketing machine.
They further called on the authorities to immediately introduce “mystery guests” on board the Pontoon who will take records of ticketing to check tickets of passengers.
It will be recalled that in March 11, 2014 many citizens in the country, especially those living along the Tema-Akosombo highway, had hints that the famous Adomi Bridge that straddles the Volta river and serves as an entrance into the central and northern Volta region, especially and some parts of the Eastern region, has been closed to both vehicular and human traffic.
The reason given for the closure by GHA and the ministry of roads and highways was that the bridge at Atimpoku built by two firms—Sir William Halcrow and Partners and Freeman Fox and Partners—across the Volta in 1956 to ease the burden of travelers, has developed structural defects as traffic loads have continued to increase leading to the first fatigue failures in 2008, which affected the transverse beams.
One of the beams failed, while two others developed serious cracks, resulting in deflection of part of the bridge deck.
The cracked girders were locally strengthened by the installation of additional steel plates at the affected locations.
But the continued use of the bridge by overloaded trucks breaching the 30ft limit had adversely compromised its safety and stability and in April 2009 more cracks mostly confined to the same area as the first cracks were discovered.
Repairs to the bridge deck will not solve the problem as the fatigue behaviour of the bridge indicated that the existing steel structure had reached the end of its lifetime.
It therefore became necessary to close the bridge for at least two years for this major rehabilitation exercise.
However, this move by government, Today understands, has unfortunately resulted in an uncomfortable situation for many travelers.
Since the closure of the bridge, motorists, especially those who ply the road enroute to the Volta region, have the pleasure of either using the two ferries provided by GHA to cross the river with their vehicles or the longer Sogakope-Adidome-Ho road to access the central parts of the region which include the regional capital, Ho or the northern parts of Kpando-Dambai-Kete Krachi or the eastern parts of Hohoe-Kadjebi continuing to Nkwanta and Kpassa in the northern reaches of the region.
Unfortunately, the reality was different from what the GHA’s planners thought.
An angry traveler who did not find the situation funny shared his bitter experience with Today, saying he got home at 1 midnight last week Friday.
According to this traveler, who is a Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) officer stationed in Koforidua, after waiting for five hours to use the ferry, he had to go through Ho-Sogakope to Koforidua.
He told Today that the single ferry does not work after 6:00 P.M., blaming the authorities for not doing their homework well before closing the Adomi Bridge.
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