45 Years After FG Takes Delivery of 2nd Niger Bridge
45 years after its conception, the second Niger Bridge linking Asaba, Delta State with Onitsha, Anambra State has finally been handed over to the Federal Government of Nigeria by Julius Berger Construction company.
The bridge was conceived and campaigned with by the Shehu Shagari/Alex Ekwueme’s National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1978. Though both won the presidential election and spent one full term of four years the bridge was not constructed.
The contract for the bridge was awarded on August 14, 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and work never stopped on the bridge till the first phase was completed in 2022.
At the twilight of Buhari’s administration the bridge was inaugurated and opened to light traffic in May 2023.
However, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria, Lars Richter on Sunday December 3, 2023 handed over the completed bridge to the Federal Government.
Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi received the new bridge on behalf of the Federal Government.
The bridge was funded by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) through its Nigeria Infrastructure Fund. The bridge was one of three major projects the NSIA invested in in the last 10 years others include the redesign and construction of Lago-Ibadan highway and Abuja/Kaduna/Kano super highway.
The 2nd Niger Bridge project also include, construction of 1.6km bridge over the River Niger, construction of 10.3km approach roads from Asaba and Onitsha, construction of two (2) secondary bridges at Amakon Village Road and Atani Road of 21.7m each; and
construction of a new cloverleaf interchange at Onitsha – Owerri Road.
The NSIA is expected to recover its investment through revenue generated from the bridge.
Engr. Umahi on Sunday confirmed that the bridge was “perfectly done.”
Umahi also confirmed that the road will be tollded to recoup the investment and assured the motoring public that security surveliance and lighting will be provided to further enhance security on the road.
“We have the light issue and we shall put our heads together on how to have light permanently along the completed road especially at night and we have agreed on solar solution. The road project will be fully completed when we have completed the two interchanges. One is taking road users off from Asaba town so that if you are coming to this bridge, you don’t have to go through Asaba town to encounter vehicular traffic while the other one is to take road users off Onitsha town to avoid traffic, and it is when this is done that the entire job will be said to have been fully completed. Julius Berger and RCC have been respectively proposed to handle the jobs.” “However, If we get an investor who is prepared to fund the two interchanges, we shall concession the two projects to such investor under our HDMI programme, and we are going to acquire more land here so we can establish service stations and we get the private sector to build hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, fillings stations and other facilities for public use as we see in Western world”
“And of course we are going to ensure security surveillance along the road through the installation of CCTV cameras and deployment of security personnel so that within this axis you can have access to security within the shortest possible time.”
It is expected that when the second phase of the bridge will be completed in about 36 months travellers to Imo and Enugu states will avoid Asaba and Onitsha respectively by using the proposed bypass roads on both flanks of the bridge.