Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that work at the second Niger Bridge will not stop as it has designed a funding mechanism to complete the project.
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave the assurance when he visited the site of the project at Oko near Asaba at the weekend.
Fashola said the modified tax credit policy, the Sukuk intervention fund and the presidential infrastructural fund, among others were aimed to fund infrastructure that would make the country a global competitive nation.
“By my assessment, the piling work is now about 50 per cent.
“At the time I resumed work at the ministry, only the bridge was designed and work had stopped, but because of the commitment of the president, work has commenced.
“For the foreseeable future, I don’t see any reason why work will stop again because funding has been provided,” he said.
The minister said the contract for the construction of the already designed link roads from Asaba and Onitsha to the second Niger Bridge would be awarded before the end of the year.
Fashola also said the Federal Government was currently undertaking maintenance work at the existing Niger Bridge to ensure that it continued to serve its citizens.
He said the ministry had received compensation claims in the realm of N3.44 billion to owners of land affected by the second Niger Bridge project.
“We have paid N1.8 billion. Our strategy is to pay in sections where contractors want to commence work immediately.
“We have also received additional claim of N1.5 billion. These claims are the impediment to the entire project,” the minister said.
On the Umunya section of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, Fashola said the contract had been awarded, adding that work would start in earnest.
Fashola, who later visited Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra at the lodge, assured that the Federal Government would collaborate with the state government on the inter-change projects by Revenue House, Awka.
Also speaking, the Controller of Works in Anambra, Mr Innocent Alumonah, explained that the second Niger Bridge was about 1.5kilometers in length, with two spans of 40 meters each.
He said about 180 piles had been driven into the earth out of over 600 piles meant for the foundation of the bridge.
“The contractor has also put a lot of geo-textiles to the ground and constructed culverts as part of early works four project which will soon be completed,” Alumunah said.
In a remark, Gov. Willie Obiano while commending the Federal Government’s commitment, appealed for the refund of N50 billion owed for the execution of federal road projects by the state government.
Obiano also appealed to the Federal Government on the need for the Nnewi cluster power supply project as well as its collaboration on a proposed project at Regina junction axis of Enugu-Onitsha expressway, Awka.