Second Niger Bridge: FG might consider redesign to ward off suicides

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Second Niger Bridge

Construction of 2nd Niger Bridge

ENGINEERS have raised concerns over the need to review the current design of the ongoing second Niger Bridge to include features that would discourage  individuals who would want commit suicide by jumping off the bridge. 

Members of the Abuja branch of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) made the observation Saturday when they inspected the on-going works at the Ogbaru site of the project, near Onitsha.

To this end, the Federal Controller of Works in Anambra, Mr Adeyemo Ajani, hinted that the second Niger Bridge may be redesigned to prevent suicide attempts as he promised to take up the concerns and recommendations of the NSE recommendation with the appropriate authorities.

During the inspection, the chairman of the NSE Abuja branch, Mr Chinasaokwu Okoli, made a case for a suicide-proof design of the pedestrian walkway of the bridge to prevent cases of suicide.

Okoli recommended a standard walkway of 1.5m high to discourage anyone who might want to jump from the bridge into the river.

“We are 25 engineers from Abuja to see for ourselves the second Niger Bridge. The project is fully crafted and the work is being handled and supervised well.

“Our concerns are positive. All the places that could raise concerns have been properly tidied up. The only area we have concerned is the pedestrian walkway.

“With what we are hearing about people jumping over the bridge and committing suicide, we feel it could be raised up a bit to make it a little difficult for those who may think of committing suicide here.

“There should also be an attachment at the end of the 1.5m  so that even if one wants to climb, he will be discouraged.”

Okoli advised the consultants and the contractors to go back and try to reflect the concern that suicide attempts might be considered on the bridge if not raised.

He commended the Federal Government under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari for keeping faith on the project and expressed satisfaction with the quality and progress of work at the site.

Reflecting on the recommendations of the NSE engineers, the Federal Controller of Works in Anambra, Mr Adeyemo Ajani, said, “what we have on the walk lane is our standard design but what the engineers are talking about is a kind of review.

“If we have to do abnormal design to take care of suicidal situations, it will require another design. There has been rapid progress on the project. The last time the minister and the vice-president came, it was 15 per cent level completion but today it is above 21per cent.

“When you look at it from the time the project started, we are now at 24 per cent completion. The main bridge has begun; we have done all the piling and the structures above water level have been done considerably.

“At the Asaba end, we have raised the structure to the deck up to 80 per cent.”

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