Despite assurances by the Federal Government on the completion of the Second Niger Bridge, the contract for the construction of the main bridge has not been awarded.
But soothing news, however, came from the Director of Highways, Bridges and Design, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Engr Sogbesan Adetokunbo, who said the award of the contract is on the pipeline.
Adetokunbo said a memo will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) soon for approval and the construction of the bridge will be carried out within a period of less than two years.
He added that in order to complete the bridge, the project would require a total sum of N210 billion.
Adetokunbo said: “The early works one to three has been completed. Early works one comprising of the design of the road, soil investigation, preliminary drawing and fine engineering drawing.
“Early works two and three comprising of pile caps on Asaba end, and early works four which is ongoing is at the Onitsha end. And some of these pile caps have been completed as at date.
“Like I said, one, two and three are hundred percent completed. But on this project, it is about 45 percent completion; early works four.
“But the main work, which is the main bridge, is at the point of procurement. The estimate has been completed, a memo has been written to the Bureau of Public Procurement for no objection and thereafter, a memo would be sent to FEC for approval and once it is approved, the main works will be awarded.”
Adetokunbo further said roads were awarded along with the bridge such as Road (A) that connects the Benin-Asaba end which is about 13 kilometres.
He also said Road (2) is about 15 kilometres, adding that the entire corridor is about 40 kilometres.
“What we are doing now is about five or six piling on Asaba end and about six or seven on Onitsha end.
“The early works one, two and three were done under Public Private Partnership (PPP), but the Federal Government felt we shouldn’t toll it.
“So, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing took it over. We are paying now. We are paying 100 percent for the project as at date.
“But the main works will be awarded in the next one or two months and the roads 2A and 2B will be awarded very soon, before the end of this year,” Adetokunbo added.
Adetokunbo also said once the main bridge is awarded, it will not take up to two years before completion.
“It will not be up to two years to be completed. It will be completed within two years,” he said.
Asked how much was needed to complete the main bridge, Adetokunbo said: “It is about N210 billion at the current rate to complete the main bridge works.”
Speaking earlier, Adetokunbo said the project is a massive and essential project that connects Lagos port to Mombasa Port in Kenya.
He added that the project is one that is very critical, not only to the Nigerian economy but to the countries along the road corridor which include Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Uganda and Kenya.
Adetokunbo also said the project is to connect Lagos port to Mombasa port to enhance economic activities not only in Nigeria but Africa in general.
Speaking earlier, the Federal Controller of Works, Anambra state, Engr Innocent Alumonah, said the Second Niger Bridge is 1.59 kilometres in length and located 1.7 kilometres on the downstream sector of the existing Niger Bridge.
The bridge, Alumonah added, has two end spans of 40 meters, two number intermediate spans of 90 meters and 16 numbers intermediate spans of 55 meters.
The Second Niger Bridge, Alumonah also said, has three navigational channels, making a total of 1.59 kilometres. (Sun)