Works Minister Says Denton Bridge Will Serve Lifespan of 50 years

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Gambia’s Works Minister Ebrima Sillah, told members of the National Assembly that findings made by engineers indicate Denton Bridge is still in a good shape and also within its designed life span of fifty years. Sillah said this while responding to a question raised by the member for Bundunka Kunda, during question-and-answer session with lawmakers.

The Member for Bundunka Kunda, Sulayman Jammeh, in his question asked the Minister to inform the assembly whether his Ministry has a monitoring mechanism that will evaluate the condition and life span of the Denton Bridge.

In his response, Minister Sillah explained that the bridge was constructed in 1995 with a designed life span of fifty years. According to him, the NRA in collaboration with UNOPS, conducted a nationwide bridge inventory and conditions survey, for defects and effects of axial loading, in 2018. He said this finding indicates that Denton Bridge is in good shape and is still within its designed life span. He however said that the NRA through a directory from the Works Ministry, will conduct another bridge inspection on the said Bridge.

On his part, the Member for Latrikunda Sabiji, Yaya Sanyang, said the Government has committed millions of Dollars worth of equity to OIC projects, and that each contract has been signed, but the progress on construction is zero percent. He then asked the Minister explain to them the position of the government on the OIC Road Projects.

In his response to the Member, the Minister said the following: “On the contrary, I wish to inform the assembly that work has indeed started on the sites. Already there is an eight-man team of engineers on the ground doing earth work, as well as a Ghanaian team doing the landscaping,” Sillah responded.

On his part the Member for Upper Fulladou West, Bakary Kora, asked about the Ministry’s plans to provide a new ferry at the Bansang Bush Town crossing point.

In his response, the Minister said the Bansang ferry which was acquired in 1994, had been taken to the Banjul shipyard for major rehabilitation works, and the ferry is currently awaiting delivery on spare parts; that works on the ferry is expected to complete at the end of February, 2023.

Member for Nianija Constituency, Amadou Camara also asked the Minister to inform the assembly on the short-term measures put in place to facilitate the crossing of commuters, goods and services in that part of the country.

Minister Sillah responded that the short-term solution is to use the Janjangbureh route which is very close to Bansang, especially for vehicle owners and other people with heavy goods; that if otherwise, small boats ply in between and all safety services are in place on these small boats.

The Member for Tumana Constituency, Nfally M Kora, also asked the Minister to inform the assembly how urgent is the Ministry’s plan to address the poor feeder road conditions linking Tinkinjo to Diabuguba Sillah, because this particular road is still in a poor state.

Minister Sillah replied that the construction of the said road is earmarked for the year 2023-2024 on the availability of funds, adding that they have already done the design work for the road and are waiting for the disbursement of funds.

The Member for Wuli East Constituency, Suwaibou Touray, asked the Minister whether his Ministry has a clear criteria as to how roads are being prioritised, stating that the need for road construction is countrywide and prioritisation is significant.

In his response, Minister Sillah detailed that among the criteria they look into is the usage of the road in terms of movement of goods and services, population density of the area and how far the communities are from these services, so that their movements can be enhance to get access to services, and to also ensure flourishment in trade.

“All-in-all, these are important criteria, but now we have also included one, which is the contribution to the budget and how detached these communities are, from the national services. What we can do as a government, is to ensure that we bring those services to them by collaborating with other Ministries,” he said.

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