The Second Niger Bridge has reached 95 percent completion and will be ready for use by the beginning of 2024.
Seyi Martins, acting controller of works in Anambra, said this when he received members of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, at the site.
Mr Martins said the first phase of the project, which was the bridge proper, was substantially completed and that what was left was the final asphalt surfacing on the Asaba bound carriageway lane.
He said the asphalt wearing course had been fully laid on Onitsha bound carriageway lane and that every other thing about the bridge, including the streetlights, the handrails, the parapet wall had been completed.
Martins said the bridge, which was about 1.7km parallel to the existing bridge, was a dual carriageway with three lanes on both sides measuring about 1.6km in length while total length of the project was 11.9km.
According to him, the steel guard rails are complete, the roads are set for vehicle traffic; the toll plaza area is almost completed, and what is left is the installation of toll booth canopies.
“The bridge project is 95 percent complete and it is expected to be delivered by the end of December 2022 but there is a second phase which is a 3.3km road approach on the Delta side and 7km of approach road on the Anambra side that is yet to commence.
The controller said the bridge could be accessed from the interchange at Oba on Onitsha-Owerri road and that a road was being constructed to connect traffic on the Asaba-Benin expressway to it pending the completion of the second phase.
“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 travelers access the bridge from Benin-Onitsha road,” he said.
On his part, Victor Meju, chairman of COREN in Anambra, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done so far and the use of indigenous engineers in the execution of the project.
Mr Meju also commended the contractor, Julius Berger PLC, for allowing young and experienced engineers to use the project to deepen and broaden their knowledge of the profession.
“What we have observed today is impressive. We are happy that our members, local engineers, were generously used in this project.
“We thank the Federal Government, the government of Anambra and Delta states for their efforts at seeing that the project come this far; we are confident that the bridge will increase the business activities in the area,” he said.
The COREN chairman, however, called on Julius Berger to construct signature roads in Anambra as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility for executing a landmark project in the state.
He said COREN leadership, which was inaugurated about three months ago, was concerned with ensuring that engineers working on projects in Anambra were certified.
“COREN is happy that the contractor, Julius Berger has done some palliatives in some places and also employed our colleagues in the course of executing this project.
“I must say that it is not enough, Julius Berger must do more; right from their office, the road is bad; we expect that they should have some kilometres of road done by them with their name engraved on it to show they were here,” he added.