By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Federal Government says it has completed the Loko-oweto bridge and the 2nd Niger Bridge and both would be commissioned and handed over before the in-coming administration by May 29.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola said this during the inspection of the completed Loko-oweto road and bridge on Tuesday in Nasarawa.
According to him, the contractors had promised that the project would be completed by the end of March and they made good their promise.
“So that’s why we’re here today. Today is the 4th of April. So, they indicated last week that they had finished and you saw as we crossed each of the sections all of them with our officers reported completion.
“So, we essentially made the timeline we set; so we’ve kept to that timeline, courtesy of our contractors, and also our staff and I think we deserve the commendation of all Nigerians for the work that have been done.
“What remains now on this project is to send a report to the Office of the President to say that on this project, mission accomplished, and whatever date is then possible, to do a ceremonial handover,” he said.
Speaking further on the value of the oweto bridge Fashola said it crosses the River Benue while the second Niger bridge crosses the River Niger and that it is a North-South link while the river Niger is an East-West link.
“Coming from the South-East, for example, and you go through Otukpo to link Nasarawa, instead of going through Lafia to Keffi, you can now pass Loko and burst out at Keffi. That reduces your journey time by about four hours.
“This is what this bridge has done in terms of business efficiency, reduction of travel time, reduction of travel costs, and ultimately, ease of doing business.
“In terms of scope, there are two bridges here, the main bridge is 1.8 kilometers long. So it is 200 meters longer than the main bridge of the second Niger bridge.
“Although the second Niger bridge has a total of three bridges, and in terms of project scope, they aggregate to about 2.6 kilometres.
“The two bridges here aggregate to 2.2 kilometres. But individually, in terms of river crossing, this is 200 metres longer than Niger bridge,” Fashola said.
The minister said that the administration should be commended because this was a development that many African countries could not accomplish in today’s economy.
“We should be proud to project these developments because they are the basis of our future prosperity – linking people, creating opportunities, creating trade, driving commerce, and economic exchange.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there is over 70 kilometres of road linking Benue State to Nasarawa State and 74 kilometres of road linking Benue and Nasarawa into the Federal Capital Territory Abuja is funded by SUKUK IV.
Speaking further on the Second Niger bridge, Fashola said it would be opened to traffic on May 15.
“The dates that we have now for the completion of the link road, because the bridge itself is finished.
“The link road that we formally opened to traffic, the date we have now is the May 15 as of yesterday. We are rolling out all the stops to support the contractor to see that that date is achieved.
“Just about two weeks before the end of term, the President will be invited to the completion, and maybe any day thereafter, he will be able to fly in and do the ceremonial.
“But by the May 15, the bridge should be fully open to traffic.” Fashola said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbeshola