Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The main construction of the Second Niger Bridge will cost N210bn, the Federal Government announced on Friday.
It also stated that the construction work of the bridge would be awarded in about two months’ time as the memo for its procurement would be sent to the Bureau of Public Procurement next week.
The main bridge, which has a length of 1.59 kilometres, forms part of the 11.9km length of the entire Second Niger Bridge project that comprises four sections namely: Asaba road, toll plaza, bridge and Onitsha road.
The bridge links Delta and Anambra states, but the entire road project traverses a lot of communities in these states.
The Director of Highways, Bridges and Design, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Sogbesan Adetokunbo, stated that the activities currently ongoing at the project site were mainly early works, adding that the construction of the main bridge would soon commence.
When asked what it would take to complete the main bridge and the projected completion date, Adetokunbo replied, “It should be completed within two years and the cost to do this at the current rate is about N210bn. Please note that this is for the main bridge work.”
He emphasised that the procurement for the main bridge would start soon and that a memo on it would be sent to the Federal Executive Council for approval, after getting a no objection response from the BPP.
Providing a brief history of the project, Adetokunbo said, “Early works 1 to 3 have been completed. Early work 1 comprises the design of the road, soil investigation, preliminary drawing and final engineering drawings. Early works 2 and 3 are at the Asaba end, while early work 4, which is ongoing, is at the Onitsha end.
“So, early works 1, 2 and 3 are 100 per cent completed, while early work 4 is about 45 per cent completed. But the main work, which is the main bridge, is at the point of procurement. The estimates have been concluded, a memo has been written to the BPP for no objection, and thereafter, a memo will be sent to FEC for approval.”
He added, “And once they approve it, the main work will be awarded. So, early next week, the memo will be sent to the BPP for no objection and thereafter it will be sent to FEC for approval. The Federal Government is paying 100 per cent for the project and it is not under PPP (public private partnership). The main work should be awarded in the next one or two months.
“When the main bridge is awarded, that is when you will see a lot of work on the water and the length of the bridge is about 1.59 kilometres. We know that that is what people want to see.
“They want to stand on the existing bridge and see piling work going on, but where we are working now is at the end of the two extremes. So, most people on the existing bridge will not see what is going on now, but very soon they will see it once the main work is awarded.”
Adetokunbo added that the Second Niger Bridge was an essential project that would connect Lagos to the Mombasa Port in Kenya.
“It is very critical not only to the Nigerian economy, but to the countries along the route’s corridor, which include Nigeria, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Uganda and Kenya. Apparently, the project is to connect the Lagos Port to the Mombasa Port, which will enhance economic activities in Africa as a whole,” he noted.
On why the Federal Government initiated and commenced another bridge in the region, the Federal Controller of Works in Anambra State, Innocent Alumonah, stated that the existing Niger Bridge was constructed in 1965 and inaugurated on January 4, 1966.
“From 1965 to date, we have had a life span of around 53 years, although the ministry has done a lot of work to strengthen the bridge. However, due to the excessive axle load, the age of the bridge and the enhanced economic activities within the road corridors, the Federal Government is compelled to initiate and commence the construction of the Second Niger Bridge,” he said.
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