Barring any further hitches, the first phase of the second Niger Bridge would be ready in 2022.Project Manager of the construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Friedrich Josef Wieser, disclosed this during an unscheduled inspection.He said the plan is being driven by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), led by the Managing Director, Uche Orji and Executive Director, Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli.
The first phase of the project entails raising a six-lane second bridge across the 10 kilometers River Niger, between Onitsha in Anambra State and Asaba in Delta State.
Also included is another 12 kilometers of road before and after the bridge, among other ancillary civil and engineering works to be done within the given period of 44 months.
According to Wieser, the February 28, 2022 delivery date was certain, based on NSIA ‘s renewed commitment to the project.This, he, said, comes with the signing and moblisation of N33 billion, being first tranche payment out of the N220 billion earmarked for the entire project.
He said: “As at today, we are at 16 per cent progress of the works, and we are confident that we will complete the project on schedule by 2022. We have 44 months, which is four years of construction period.
“We started actual construction on September 1, this year and we are confident that we will complete the job on February 28, 2022. The dredger is going to arrive tomorrow to dredge the river to enable us commence serious activities.”
The NSIA Managing Director gave further insight into the renewed vigour by the Federal Government, particularly the new funding arrangement.He said: “The Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF), alongside the NSIA Infrastructure Fund are aimed at completing five major infrastructures of national importance, one of which is the Second Niger Bridge.
He listed others as the Abuja-Kano through Zaria Highway, and the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way. The fourth is the Mambilla Power Plant, while the other is the East-West High Way. Two monarchs in the host communities, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, and the Asagmba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien, commended the renewed initiative when the team visited them in their palaces.
The traditional Prime Minister of the Asaba Kingdom, Onowu Patrick Isioma Goodness Onyeobi, received the team on behalf of the Asaba ruler.