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While speaking at a press briefing in Abuja Monday as part of activities to mark his three years in office, the Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Fashola, spoke out why there is delay in the construction of 2nd Niger Bridge.
According to Vanguard, the Minister attributed the delay behind the slow pace of work on the N206billion 2nd Niger Bride by Julius Berger Nigeria, to the depth of water in the river was not what the contractor could contain, adding that the water level cannot be above 15 feet deep for them to work.
“During peak raining season it slows down their work because really you need divers to go under this is what it takes to build a bridge. So at the height of that raining season when there was flooding, work will slow down.
”They can work only about 15 meters depth of the River Niger Bridge, with the massive flooding that we have now it must be about 30 meters. So if you are doing 30 meters of water that is height of a 10 Storey building so they need to wait for it to come down.
According to him, “As the raining season ends you will see more activities there. Construction is not subject only to money, materials, and transportation it is also subject to weather.”
Fashola who disclosed further that the federal government is presently repairing 53 critical roads across the country before the Christmas, said the government is working round the clock to ensure that Nigerians not only see but feel the current administration’s provision of the necessary infrastructure including roads, power and housing.
“The Ministry staff have identified 53 critical roads requiring intervention while construction is going on in order to move traffic and we will be working with our contractors to provide relief gangs.”.
He also said his Ministry is collaborating with the Federal Road maintenance Agency (FERMA), and the Federal Road safety Corps (FRSC), to make sure that this year’s yuletide season is traffic free and smooth roads.
The Minister, however, added that 9 camps and 18 health zones would be mounted on major highways while he had ordered that no directors in the Ministry of Works is allowed to travel or go on leave before and during the yuletide season.
“We are also deploying the Zonal Directors to their zones of responsibility until this period of peak traffic subsides.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari has since inception of office increased budget of the Ministry’s mandate from N18.1billion in 2015 to N394billion in 2018.
“This recovery is the result of an expansive infrastructure spending that saw works budget grow from N18.132billion in 2015 to N394billion in 2018.
"Difficult or abandoned projects like the 2nd Niger Bridge; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Bodo-Bonny Bridge have been brought back to life Sections of Ilorin-Jebba, Sokoto to Jega, Sokoto-Ilesa have been completed while progress of works continues nationwide from Jada to Mayo belwa, Enugu to Port Harcourt, Lagos to Abuja ,Kano to Maiduguri, Abuja –Okene, Lokoja to Abuja, Kano to Maiduguri, Abuja to Kaduna, Kano to mentions a few.
“Apart from recovered construction jobs and growth in construction sector of the economy, the feedback from road users is that the journey times are reducing on the completed roads.
”We acknowledge that work is not finished but as long as we remain able to finance the projects, l have no doubt that it will get better.
“Our intervention on roads, does not stop on interstate highways, it has also entered 14 federal Universities where unattended roads are now receiving attention in University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Federal University of Oye, Ekiti; University of Benin; Federal University, Lafia; Fed University, Otuoke, Bayelsa; Bayero University, Kano; Fed University of Technology, Owerri; University of Maiduguri; Federal University, Lokoja; Fed Polytechnic, Bauchi; Federal University Gashua; Kaduna Polytechnic; Fed. College of Education, Katsina and University College, Ibadan," he said.