The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has said the second Niger Bridge will only be open to traffic from December 15, 2022, to January 15, 2023, as part of measures being taken by the Federal Government to ease the movement of goods and services for the Christmas festivities.
He explained that while the construction of the bridge has been completed, work is still ongoing on the road linking the bridge to the major highway.
Fashola said this while answering questions from journalists, after the Ember Months meeting with stakeholders and contractors handling various road projects across the country, in Abuja, on Thursday.
He noted that government had received the commitment of contractors as well as the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency to carry out remedial work on various critical roads to ease movements during this season where a lot of movement is recorded on our roads.
The Minister said, “We have completed work on the bridge, so if you go there now you can walk from one end of the bridge to the other or drive from one end of the bridge to the other, but the connecting road that links that bridge to the main highway, is what we want to finish.
“What delayed us is the stop work orders on Mondays, the flood also delayed us but it was a blessing in disguise because the original level of the flood resistance was based on the 2012 flood report.
“So, we have to raise the height of that road, happily and thankfully it didn’t affect the bridge.
“The president approved that since the bridge is finished that we should create a access road so that during Christmas you can begin to experience what it would feel like plying the bridge.
“It would be open for traffic going from the west to the east from the 15th Dec, 2022- 15th January 2023.
“Let me be clear again we haven’t finished construction work but we would open it for people to use to relive the pressure from the one bridge, it wouldn’t be available for heavy duty trucks, it would only be small vehicles for now until we finish our work.
“On the 15th January we would reverse that movement for those coming from the east to the west. We have told all the contractors that they shouldn’t open anymore sections for construction i.e. there shouldn’t be any barrier on the roads this season.”
Fashola also gave assurances that the filing of potholes along some road corridors will continue as has been done over the years.
He appealed to Nigerian road users to appreciate the fact that roads are a depreciating asset as such even as some parts are being rehabilitated, other parts could be failing.
Fashola equally appealed to Nigerians to take ownership of roads in their areas by ensuring that activities which weaken the asphalt such as: burning of tires, use of corrosive materials like engine oil and other lubricants on the roads are discouraged.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FERMA, National Union of Road Transport Owners and Directors of Roads and Bridges in the Ministry among others.