From Chuks Collins, Awka
The second bridge across the River Niger at Onitsha will is now expected to be ready in early 2024, according to the acting Federal Controller of Works in Anambra State, Seyi Martins.
The acting Controller dropped the hint at the weekend in Onitsha, while conducting the visiting members of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) at the bridge site.
While noting that work has already reached 95 per cent completion, he pointed out the final asphalt surfacing on the Asaba-bound lane was the only part remaining to be completed.
According to him, asphalt wearing course had been fully laid on the Onitsha-bound carriageway lane and every other thing about the bridge, including the streetlights, the handrails, and the parapet wall were all now ready.
He explained that the first phase of the project, which was the bridge proper, has been substantially completed.
Martins said the bridge is about 1.7 kilometers and was made a dual carriageway with three lanes on both sides measuring about 1.6km in length while the total length of the project was 11.9km.
He stated that the roads were set for vehicle traffic, while the toll plaza area was nearing completion and that the installation of toll booth canopies were yet to be completed.
According to Martins, “the bridge project is 95 per cent complete and it is expected to be delivered by the end of December 2022 but there is a second phase, which is a 3.3 kilometer road approach on the Delta State side and 7 kilometer of the approach road on the Anambra State side that are yet to commence work.”
He said the bridge could be accessed from the interchange at Oba on the Onitsha-Owerri expressway and that a road was being constructed to connect traffic on the Asaba-Benin expressway to it pending the completion of the second phase.
According to him, “the second phase of the project is yet to commence, but the government has deemed it fit that upon completion of the first phase, it will be open to traffic.
“At the Onitsha end, there is an interchange at Oba, where you can access the bridge and on the Asaba end, there is a link road we are constructing to enable travellers to access the bridge from Benin-Onitsha road.”