By Vincent Ujumadu
COMPLETION date for the multi billion naira 2nd Niger Bridge linking Delta and Anambra states has again been shifted from the earlier scheduled date of October, 2022 to the first quarter of 2024.
The implication of this is that President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration started the construction of the bridge five years ago, would not be in office to commission it as his tenure would end in May, 2023.
The Acting Federal Controller of Works in Anambra State, Mr. Seyi Martins, who hinted of the new completion date however said work on the bridge had reached 95 per cent completion.
Martins, who spoke when members of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) toured the bridge said the first phase of the project, which was the bridge proper, has substantially been completed.
According to him, what was remaining was the final asphalt surfacing on the Asaba end carriageway lane.
He said the asphalt wearing course had been fully laid on the Anambra end carriageway lane, just as other fittings, including the streetlights, the handrails, and the parapet wall had been completed.
Martins said the bridge, which is about 1.7km parallel to the existing bridge, was a dual carriageway with three lanes on both sides measuring about 1.6km in length, while the total length of the project was 11.9km.
He also informed the COREN members that the steel guard rails were complete and that the bridge was set for vehicular traffic.
He stated further that the toll plaza area was almost completed, adding that what was left was the installation of toll booth canopies.
He said: “The bridge project was expected to be delivered by the end of December 2022, but there is a second phase which is a 3.3km road approach on the Delta side and 7km of approach road on the Anambra side that is yet to commence.
“But the government has deemed it fit that upon completion of the first phase, it will be open to traffic.
“At the Onitsha end, there is an interchange at Oba, where motorists can access the bridge, while at the Asaba end, there is a link road we are constructing to enable travellers to access the bridge from Benin-Onitsha road”.
The Controller added that the bridge could be accessed from the interchange being constructed at Oba on the Onitsha-Owerri road to connect traffic on the Asaba-Benin expressway pending the completion of the second phase.