Liberia: St. John River Bridge Reopens

The St. John Bridge when it was only accessible by smaller vehicles last week.

Vehicle traffic has resumed on the busy St. John Bridge,  which connects  Margibi to Grand Bassa and a host of other countries. 

The bridge, which is located along the Monrovia-Buchanan highway, has been closed for nearly two weeks after a crack appeared on the bridge bearing, whose purpose is to ensure adequate mutual connections between different parts of the bridge. 

The Ministry of Public Works attributed the problem to the age of the bridge, which is one of the oldest in the country and had suffered from limited periodic repairs.  

However, the temporary blockage that has impeded regular vehicle movement has been removed as ArcelorMittal Liberia, and a few other companies came to the aid of the government with a  temporary repair.

“We are pleased to inform the public that the temporary rehabilitation of the St. John bridge has been completed and the engineers have told us that it is now ready for testing,” said Janjay Baikpeh, Grand Bassa Superintendent. 

According to Baikpeh, restriction on heavy vehicles has been removed but the repair work will be monitored by engineers for a considerable period of time.

The St. John River bridge is an economic lifeline for thousands of travelers everyday. The suspension of traffic there in the last few days has made life difficult for many, and resulted in price increases and panic buying in Grand Bassa and among travelers from the southeastern region of the country.

However, the temporary repairs will return things to normal and ensure uninterrupted economic activities in nearby counties. 

One of the six main rivers in Liberia, the St. John River originates from Guinea, along the Nimba Range and runs through Grand Bassa County. Its total length is 282km. 

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.