By Davies Iheamnachor, Port-Harcourt
The Federal Government has promised to complete and deliver the Bodo-Bonny road in Rivers state soon, adding that the road was not politicized.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said FG has redoubled its effort to ensure timely completion of the ongoing 40 kilometres road.
The Minister expressed confidence that the project would be delivered under the present admiration, even as he noted that it was one of the toughest road projects in the world.
Fashola, who spoke during a facility tour of the project site yesterday describing it as the foundation for the economic prosperity of the nation, noting that the road which comprises nine mini-bridges and three major bridges is paralleled to the third mainland bridge in Lagos State.
He said: “ I came from a coastal community and I know what it feels like connecting the Coastal communities to the main inland bridge. Before now, the ancestors in Bonny, Andoni use to paddle a canoe for hours before they could access their homes, so standing here today is truly historic, three and half years ago, when the project started, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo who flagged off the project on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, flew from Port-Harcourt to Bonny Island due to lack of access road”
“I am very confident that what is happening at Eko bridge, the third mainland bridge is going to happen here and this will just be the first of many interventions of this administration.”
“This 40 kilometer is in one of the toughest terrain you can ever encounter in the world, it is made up mangrove swamp and apart from the three main bridges, there are nine other small bridges, it’s a very massive engineering feat and I doubt if there are many projects like this across the world.”
The Minister bemoaned that the Ogoni communities where oil has been extracted for over five decades was neglected and abandoned by the previous administration but however, described the road as very significant and historic that will alleviate the sufferings of the people.
“Funding is not a challenge, we will go back and look at what time we have lost and what time we need to gain, we are doing everything possible to ensure that it is completed quickly, one of the things we have adopted is using technology which is quite expensive” Fashola stated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Engineer’s Representative and Head of Federal Ministry of Works Supervising Team of the project site, Engr. Esene Udoh revealed that the project at the moment has provided 700 direct jobs and 200 indirect jobs to the youths and people of the host communities and outsiders.
Udo said: “ The completed stretch of the project which is about 37.09 percent has reduced travel time to Afa creek jetty from 40 minutes to five minutes, as well as reducing the travel cost from N6,000 to N2,000. The area has also provided easy access for residents to their farms, schools and health centres in the community. It has also provided access to the sites of the ongoing Bodo oil spill remediation project”.