The Federal Controller of Works in Delta, Mr Jimoh Olawale has said the new Second Niger Bridge will be opened to traffic on Dec. 15. Olawale, who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Asaba, however, said that the bridge would be opened for only 30 days.
According to him, the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, ordered the opening of the bridge, which is at 95 percent completion stage, to ease traffic during the Yuletide.
“As we know, during the Christmas celebration, commuters suffer hardship accessing the old Niger Bridge due to traffic jam but with this arrangement, traffic congestion on Asaba-Benin Expressway will ease.
“We have notified the state government on this arrangement, and we are working with the Federal Roads Safety Corps to ensure a hitch free vehicular movement. Motorist going towards Owerri direction would divert through the access road near the old Niger Bridge to the new bridge,” the controller added.
Olawale debunked claims by a group alleging that Federal Government had abandoned the payment of compensation to property owners along the access road to the second Niger Bridge.
He explained that the government had not taken possession of any property along the 17-kilometre Okpanam-Ibusa-Asaba-Oko bypass to the new bridge, but only served notice that their structures were within the government right of way. The controller assured that the modalities for payment of compensations were being worked out.
“The federal government has appointed a consultant, Messrs C.O. Akpabor and Company to enumerate the properties for compensation.
“Each claimant has an attorney that liaises with the consultant, so there is totally no need for protest, more so that the federal government has not taken possession of the properties nor commenced construction work on the access road. As at moment, nobody’s structure or property has been demolished.
“Federal government verification team have visited and submitted its report to Abuja and government will pay all compensation before work will commence on the access road,” he said. Olawale assured that government would complete construction work on the 17 km access road before May 29, 2023.
The controller said that contract for the 110.63km Sapele-Eku-Agbor Road dualisation project would be reviewed in line with current realities. Olawale added that the N64 billion project, which began in November 2017, has been at 12 percent completion level.
He added that the federal government recently completed and inaugurated a ring road project connecting communities in Isoko area of the state. On the Yuletide, the controller advised motorists to maintain 100km per hour speed limit in order to get to their destinations safely.