…MPW Prevents Heavy Vehicles From Crossing

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 the bearing at the joint ends have begun to separate thus, preventing vehicles from crossing.

According to the local daily, the bearing holding various ends of the bridge are said to be separating at the joint ends in diameter thus, preventing commuters and transport vehicles from crossing the Haford-Monrovia end of the bridge.

Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins in an interview with a journalist 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.

“We encourage the citizens of Grand Bassa County, in fact, the entire country, to be calm. Our team of engineers has been dispatched,” she said.

Coker-Collins 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.

“We just got the information that our people are panicking because of the bridge so we just thought of giving a quick update on what is happening.  From photos we have seen around, the bearing burst.”

“Of course, it is an emergency but we cannot cut off the entire movement of vehicles.  We encourage smaller vehicles to ply. We will work along with the Justice Ministry to stop heavy vehicles on that corridor.”

St. John River is one of the six main rivers in Liberia, which runs through Grand Bassa County from Guinea down to the Nimba Range with a total length of 282km.

For his part, Deputy Minister Amos Y. Barclay revealed that the crack was a result of the weak bearing which has spent many years. Barclay said, “There is no need to panic. We have observed that the bearing burst.”

He stated that engineers will begin immediate work following the identification of the bursting of the bridge bearings.

“We are also figuring out how we can get new bearings in the country. We have to jack it and be able to put in the new ones, but the fact remains that there must be some load restrictions.”

“We don’t know at what point it may go when other people start to carry more load so we will look at the Ministry of Justice. But we should remain calm. We have technicians that will resolve the problem,” he assured.

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.

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