The Adomi Bridge, originally known as the Volta Bridge, stands as an intricate lattice of steel arch suspension, gracefully spanning the Volta River at Atimpoku in Ghana, situated in West Africa. This engineering marvel, inaugurated in 1957 by Ghana’s inaugural president, Kwame Nkrumah, holds the distinction of being the first enduring structure to traverse the Volta River, which flows southward into the Gulf of Guinea. Remarkably, it proudly claims the title of Ghana’s lengthiest suspension bridge, serving as a vital thoroughfare connecting the Eastern Region and the Volta Region, just to the south of the Akosombo Dam.
Delving into its historical origins, the decision to construct the Adomi Bridge was made in 1953, a time preceding Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule in 1956. The imperative behind this endeavor was to replace the overburdened ferry service at Senchi, where delays were occasionally prolonged to a few days. Extensive deliberations and reconnaissance identified an optimal site at Adomi, approximately 2.5 miles upstream from the ferry, strategically closer to the envisaged dam and power station in the Volta River Project.
The year 1953 marked the appointment of consulting engineers, with Sir William Halcrow & Partners overseeing project administration and designing approach roads and spans. Freeman Fox & Partners were entrusted with the design of the single-span arch bridge. Tenders for the entire project, including approach roads, the arch bridge, and approach spans, were invited in 1954.
By January 1955, contracts were settled, and construction commenced, with Dorman Long (Bridge and Engineering) Ltd as the principal contractor and Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company as the steelwork fabricator. The intricate steel components were prefabricated in the United Kingdom, while on-site activities included concrete works for the approach spans and bridge abutments. The bridge’s prefabricated parts were fully welded, with on-site steelwork erections employing bolted connections. The completion of the project in January 1957 came with a total cost of 682 thousand British pounds.
The design of the arch bridge, crafted by William Brown of Freeman Fox & Partners, showcases a two-hinged silver latticed steel crescent-shaped arch. The lower-chord arch rises to a height of 158.5 ft, with a main span extending 805 ft. The aesthetically pleasing crescent shape is achieved through a lower curve designed as a parabola and an upper curve derived logarithmically from the center to the hinges. The bridge is characterized as a hybrid arch suspension type, with the roadbed suspended by vertical cable stays connected to the steel truss arch.
Officially opened on January 25, 1957, by Kwame Nkrumah, the Adomi Bridge has since served as a crucial passage for the National Route N2, facilitating travel and trade between the Eastern Region and the Volta Region. Nestled in Atimpoku in the Eastern Region, the bridge has been a pivotal connection point, linking parts of the Eastern Region with Juapong in the North Tongu District, Ho, Hohoe, and other towns in the Volta Region. Approximately 87 km northeast of Accra, Ghana’s capital, and 75 km north of the port of Tema, the Adomi Bridge has become an integral part of the region’s transportation network.
In a testament to its significance, the Adomi Bridge was designated as a tourist site in April 2019, following consensus among the Asuogyaman District, Ghana Highway Authority, and Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC).