MONROVIA – St. John River Bridge one of the major bridges near the port city of Buchannan in Grand Bassa County is said to be on the verge of collapse as reports say the bearing at the joint ends have begun to separate thus, preventing vehicles from crossing.
Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins in an interview with a journalist recently described the situation as an emergency and called on citizens of Grand Bassa County to remain calm as the ministry is working with the Ministry of Justice to ensure regulation on the bridge.
Minister Coker-Collins stated that the Ministry of Public Works has dispatched a team of engineers to assess the level of damage to the bridge for immediate repair – and the Ministry encourage the citizens of Grand Bassa County, including the entire country, to be calm, adding, “Our team of engineers has been dispatched.”
She attributed the cracks to the long lifespan of the bridge which weakened the bearings. She declared that no heavy vehicle will be allowed to drive on the Bridge.
The situation of St. John River Bridge situation has caught the attention of a Liberia journalist who has expressed concern about the bridge situation, saying the call is worrisome or perhaps concerning news that the St. John River bridge that interlocks Montserrado and Grand Bassa Cove is near collapse.
Mr Ekena Wesley said: “How come we failed to construct a new bridge when the Cotton – Buchanan road was being rehabilitated? The trappings of nation that fails to plan and ends up planning to fail as it were. Shamelessly, when a major infrastructure project such as St. John River Bridge is nearing collapse based on structural engineering precepts – it is foolhardy for the Minister of Public Works to attempt to allay the population’s fear – to the effect that they citizens should not panic. There’s cause for panic, Madam Minister.”
“Lest we forget – the same Public Works Minister told the Senate hearing that the company contracted to rehabilitate the ELWA-RIA road lacks the technical and financial capability to undertake the project. That was an act of truth-telling. On the question of the St. John River bridge, the Minister committed a grievous public relations error.”
He continued: “How do you go about lying to the population about something that is not abstract? One does not have to be an engineer to reckon that the bridge in its current state is not technically and structurally sound. The Minister ought to advise the government to announce a national emergency; creating a detour amid the construction of a Bailey Bridge is cost-effective in the interim. We cannot afford to act after the worst shall have happened folks.”
“Comically put, it is high time the CDC’s so-called “bad road medicine” sprang into action instead of embarking on unnecessary globetrotting. Liberians in the southeast – already deprived will be significantly affected by the collapse of the St. John River bridge on the verge of cutting off a major transportation corridor in the small West African nation,” he concluded.
In recent months, there has been massive sand mining along the south side of the bridge by Chinese san miners ‘Sand Mining.’ The sand mining has led to concerns from prominent Bassoians prior to this bearing dislocation.
Report about the nearing collapse of the St. River bridge panic has stricken the people of Grand Bassa County, especially travelers along the Monrovia-Buchanan highway, ever since reports over the deplorable state of the St. John River bridge, which links the county to Margibi and Montserrado counties.
Amidst the report of the nearing collapse of the St. John River bridge, prices of basic commodities are now skyrocketing in the port city of Buchannan. A gallon of gas price which was previously sold for LRD 740 is now LRD 1,000 as of Monday morning, while a bag of Liberia’s stable is now US$24.00 from previously sold US$18.00.
The river (whose basin drains 6,650 square miles or 17,220 square km in Liberia and Guinea) is so named because it was discovered on the feast day of St. John by 15th-century Portuguese navigators.