BY PETER DURU
ABAKALIKI — THE Federal Government weekend began the reconstruction of a bridge along Onwe Road, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital to avert incidence of flooding, which had over the years ravaged communities within the locality.
It would be recalled that last year’s flooding took over some parts of the city, including a multimillion naira hotel belonging to the former state chairman of People Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Obinna Ogba, Hope High International school located along Onwe Road Abakaliki and G-Spot, a popular relaxation centre adjacent to the school, and other residential and commercial buildings in the area.
Addressing newsmen at the commencement of work at Onwe road in Abakaliki, the state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Chukwuma Nwandugo, explained that communities linked to Onwe Road in Abakaliki had over the years suffered from the annual flooding in the area.
He assured that the ongoing reconstruction of the bridge and concrete channelisation of both Iyiokwu and Iyiudele rivers by the Federal Government would solve the issue of flooding across the state.
He stated that the reconstruction work would be stronger and bigger than the former box culvert, adding that the job would be completed within five weeks.
He urged motorists to cooperate with the state, Federal Government and the contractor to ensure speedy completion of the project.
He said: “The only mishap is that of flood that has ravaged this environment for many years and it has not been a small mishap; during flooding at the bridge there was a motorcycle that fell into the bridge but there was no loss of life and apart from that, it is the flood and it is enough mishap.
“So, as soon as it is done, all the flood water from this axis will move freely. Already we have built a concrete channel which is very functional. What would have caused this flood is this bridge; so if we remove it now and build something bigger and better, I’m sure that the flood issue will be over.
“What is going on here is that we are trying to remove the existing box culvert which we know is no longer functional. We want to remove it and build a new one which will more higher than this one, so that the flow of water could be a lot easier.
“The difficulty we are encountering with this particular culvert is that it is very low and water is finding it difficult to pass under it.”
The site Engineer, Engr. Ifeanyi Nwora, who explained that the contractor was currently excavating trenches and removing existing structures in the area before proper construction of the bridge resume, noted that the new bridge would have a 3 cell culvert with the height of 3.3 metre high to withstand the size of any vehicle.