In less than a month, the newly constructed Sanquin Bailey Bridge linking Rivercess and Sinoe counties including the southeastern region of Liberia has collapsed.
According to informed sources the 190' Sanquin Bailey Bridge was the longest free spanning panel bridge in Liberia and the first bridge launched by a private company (West Construction (Liberia), Inc.) in 30 years.
The bridge collapsed Tuesday, December 22 evening when a truck carrying a huge consignment of timbers apparently destine for Monrovia reached the middle of the bridge.
“The damage done to the bridge is too extensive”, according to McDonald Wrengmous Sinoe County Assistant Superintendent for Development. He told our reporter that the truck also had eight occupants on board including the driver.
Superintendent Wrengmous said it was sad to note that the bridge got damaged in less than a month after it was constructed by a joint team of the Liberia Community Infrastructural Project (LCIP), the Engineering Battalion of the Armed Forces of Liberia supervised by the Ministry of Public Works.
He told The Monitor in a telephone interview Wednesday, December 23, that the appropriate representations have been made to the Ministry of Public Works and the relevant agencies concerned.
The Sinoe County Development Superintendent said the situation has set extreme difficulty among commuters on both sides of the divide especially during the peck of holiday. He said commercial vehicles from the southeast and that of Monrovia have stated exchanging passengers and along with goods.
He said the collapse of the bridge has made traveling to that part of the county extremely difficult due to the impassable condition of alternative route via Grand Gedeh County.
Describing the situation as “a state of emergency” the Development Superintendent expressed hope that those responsible for the construction of the bridge will move in swiftly to ensure that a diversion is created for the smooth flow of traffic and pedestrians.
He however added that most of the travelers are currently walking across the old bridge, but not fit for vehicles.
LCIP Information Officer, A. Trokon Tarr confirmed that the Bailey bridge had collapsed and added that an engineering team comprising the Ministry of Public Works and LCIP had been dispatched to assess the level and cause of damage.
Quizzed about the cost of the bridge, the LCIP information officer said he was not aware; but informed Ministry of Public Works sources hinted The Monitor that the bridges cost not less than US$1million.
In a press statement released late last evening states: “the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Liberia Community Infrastructure Program (LCIP) and the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) announces to the public that on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 there was an accident on the Sanquin River Bridge, Sinoe County.
“The bridge is located between ITI junction and Nyuefueh Town, approximately 2 hours from Greenville. No fatalities were reported. LCIP is working closely with the MPW engineers to determine the next steps to regaining road access to Greenville”, the statement concluded.