….Laud Bayelsa govt for fixing collapsed bridgehead
….Want FG to dualise road
By Samuel Oyadongha
Motorists and other road users plying the Edepie-Otuasega-Imiringi route presently have cause to sigh in relief with the rehabilitation by Bayelsa State government of the collapsed portion of the troubled bridgehead.
More soothing, according to impeccable sources, is the effort by officials of the ministry of works and infrastructure to continually monitor and fix the troubled spot believed to be sinking due to the rampaging flood.
NDV findings revealed that the road which cut through a vast swathe of swamp which turned out to be a huge lake at the peak of every flood season was completely destroyed during the 2012 flood that ravaged the state before it was rehabilitated in 2014 by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency FERMA. The latter’s intervention was, however, an emergency replacement of the then collapsed bridge as well as the rehabilitation of 1-kilometre approaches on either side of the road to link Edepie end.
Though a federal road regarded as the busiest and quickest route to the oil-rich enclave of Bayelsa east senatorial district, comprising Ogbia, Nembe and Brass LGAs for commuters coming from the university town of Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Yenagoa the state capital and communities in the Gbarain-Ekpetiama axis of the state capital in Yenagoa Local Government Area in the central senatorial district, it was cut off penultimate Wednesday causing motorists to go through Okarki community in Rivers State to get to their destination.
Interestingly, the Edepie-Imiringi road which links the nation’s crude oil and gas assets in the oil-rich Ogbia kingdom also serves several educational institutions in the area, including the Federal University, Otuoke; extension of Federal Medical Centre, Federal Government Girls College, Imiringi, the state-owned College of Health Technology, Otuogidi and the proposed oil and gas museum also in the Ogbia enclave.
This reporter who travelled through this strategic route, weekend, observed that though the collapsed portion of the bridgehead had been fixed, the other stretch of the road is still riddled with potholes and deep craters while some sections of the edge is also being threatened by coastal erosion.
We‘ve fixed collapsed bridge —Commissioner
The emergency repair works on the collapsed section of the Elebele-Imiringi Bridge has been successfully carried out.
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Surveyor Moses Teibowei, said the team of engineers from the ministry worked hard to complete the repairs within time in line with the directive of Governor Douye Diri. An official of the state government who spoke anonymously told NDV that its engineers had been monitoring the situation at the troubled portion of the bridge knowing the impact of the flood on the edifice.
A disturbed Governor Douye Diri had last week while returning from a function at Akipelai in Ogbia council area visited the failed portion of the bridge and directed the State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to immediately carry out remedial work on the federal road project as its users were Bayelsans that suffer the effect of the damage.
He said the level of damage indicated that thorough work was not done by the contractor and the engineers that supervised the construction. His words, “recently, the Federal Government told states not to repair their roads. But this road links three local government areas and the primary users are Bayelsans. So, while we know it is a federal road, we had to take immediate action.
“To ameliorate the suffering of our people, the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure mobilised down here to ensure that remedial work is done to allow our people to move.
“It is, however, unfortunate that the job that was done appears not to be a very concrete one. I’m sure if the engineers come here, they will know where the problem lies.”
Bayelsans laud govt intervention
“It is a sad commentary that we still have this type of potholes riddled road that straddling communities in Ogbia Kingdom where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity and made Nigeria an oil-producing country.
But for the state government intervention, though a temporary measure we would have been passing Okarki community in Rivers State,” said Nelson Tonye a road user from Nembe council area.
Another Bayelsan Tony Ile said “My sincere thanks to Governor. Douye Diri for the swift response in rehabilitating the Edepie-Otuasega-Imiringi-Otuasega bridge.”
“The Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, award contract for the dualisation of the road to a reputable construction firm with a vast knowledge of our environment. What we need is suspended road or a hanging bridge and not the present sand-filled road that cut across the vast stretch of swamp.
“This area has made an enormous sacrifice for the Nigerian state. Remember, it was at Otuabagi here in Ogbia kingdom that crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity and it is indeed a shame that we have this type of road leading to the cradle of the nation’s oil and gas industry, “ lamented Irene Doutimi, a resident of Kolo.
Continuing she said: “Roads in this type of terrain calls for constant maintenance due to the influence of the elements on infrastructures or better still a suspended bridge is constructed across the swampy stretch of land to ensuring free movement of water underneath.”