Bridge Construction Taking Shape
The contractors handling the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge along with the project financing partner the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority NSIA have confirmed that the protracted bridge project would be brought to an end in 2022.
The duo made the affirmation while on a facility tour of the bridge, its plants and its environs including communities in both Asaba in Delta state and Onitsha in Anambra state. The tour afforded the partners opportunity to rub minds and exchange views with the communities’ traditional rulers as well as youth’s leaders and others.
The NSIA Managing Director Mr Uche Orji explained that the project is now to be executed under a three-phase arrangement with the first phase consisting of the bridge and an 11.9-kilometre stretch set to consume over N220 Billion.
The site of the 2nd Niger Bridge, Asaba
Visible signs of the bridge superstructure are expected to emerge by the next year 2019 when the bridge pillars and some concrete slabs would have been positioned.
To solve the main problem of finance which has been plaguing the project over the years, the NSIA is mandated to administer the funding of the project by accessing funds from the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund PIDF which is an initiative of the Federal government under President Buhari administration.
The Niger Bridge was announced as one of the beneficiary projects under the PIDF and the taking over of its funding will accelerate its completion. Over the years criticism has trailed its execution especially with the temporary suspension of earlier works due to funding.
The Old Dilapidated 2nd Niger Bridge
Julius Berger Director of Project for the 2nd Niger Bridge Mr Friedrich Josef Wieser also assured the journalists that the project would be completed by February 28, 2022. He said barring any communities’ disturbances and the availability of funding the project dateline would be met.
The leaders of the two host communities, the Obi of Onitsha, his Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe and the Iyase of Asaba His Majesty Patrick Isioma Goodluck pledged continued co-operation with the engineers and contractors handling the bridge assuring them of the peaceful environment to operate and work.
However, the two monarchs solicited the support of the contracting firm towards empowering the youths and the unemployed from the area by engaging them to work in the project. He revealed that there are lots of qualified indigenes from these communities who possess the wherewithal to work in various departments of the contract if given the opportunity.