By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”The ongoing rehabilitation of the ailing Okoso Bridge on the Bayelsa State stretch of the East-West road yesterday caused serious gridlock spanning over two kilometers with several motorists avoiding the route.
The ailing structure, one of the several bridges on the troubled East-West linking the South-South states has been a source of grave concern to motorists plying the route following its deplorable state.
It was however learnt that due to public outcry, the Ministry of Niger Delta had to intervene last weekend by directing Sectraco, the firm handling the dualisation of the road, to rehabilitate the bridge and save it from imminent collapse.
Armed soldiers and policemen were on hand to provide security for the officials of the construction firm who were working round the clock to ensure the timely completion of work on the collapsing bridge.
This reporter who visited the scene for the second time within the week yesterday following negative reports about the bridge, not only found the rumours to be unfounded but also noticed officials of Setraco working on the sagging portion of the bridge.
It was also observed that vehicles were barred from passing through the bridge whenever the engineers were using hi-tech equipment to replace the worn out spring underneath the structure.
Most of the commercial transport firms plying the route had to reduce their fleet of vehicles for now because of the delay caused by the ongoing rehabilitation work on the bridge.
Several passengers were yesterday stranded at the various parks in Yenagoa due to the shortage of vehicles plying the route.
An engineer with the construction firm who simply gave his name as OK, said they had to close the bridge to traffic intermittently to ensure quick repair of sagging portion.
He gave assurance that work on the bridge would be completed before the end of the week.
â€œWhat we are doing is a routine repair work. If we had closed the road to traffic the work would have been completed in two days but this we cannot do because of the strategic nature of the road to the nation oil industry,â€ he said and commended motorists for their cooperation.
Motorists who spoke to Vanguard commended the Niger Delta Ministry for intervening saying the ongoing measure would go a long way to save the bridge from imminent collapse.