Second Niger Bridge: FG run out of cash, alter master plan

Alphonsus Nweze

As federal government construct entrance and exit road for the second Niger Bridge at the head of the old one, drivers plying the old Niger Bridge have raised the alarm that the latest exit road constructed at Oko Junction will create more problem for the users of Benin-Asaba-Onitsha Expressway than solving it.

The Second Niger Bridge bye-pass in Asaba was supposed to have passed through near the Asaba Airport to cut-off the entire Asaba town so as to avoid traffic gridlock which the second Niger Bridge was billed to solve.

But sources said that the Federal Government might have run out of cash to fund the bye-pass, hence the emergency exit road from Oko Junction as an improvisation.

However some drivers who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said that the objective of the much touted Second Niger Bridge project would have been defeated by the current exit road which will room for traffic gridlock at both ends of Asaba and of the old bridge.

Samuel Okotie , a bus driver, said that traffic coming from Owerri axis of the Second Niger Bridge will definitely slow down the traffic coming from Asaba and Onitsha which would cause traffic hold-ups.

This, he said, defeats the original intention of the Second Niger Bridge of decongesting traffics at the Old Bridge.

Our source said the Federal Government had to improvise the exit road so that President Buhari can commission the bridge before he winds off his tenure on May 29, 2023.

When contacted, the Federal Ministry of Works official in charge of the project, Mr. Martins insisted that the project will solve the problem of gridlock always experienced by those commuting between Asaba and Onitsha.
He said:”This construction will solve a lot of problems of the traffic gridlock on the old Niger Bridge. Traffic flow from Asaba will be split into two:
One is those going to Onitsha and Awka through the old Niger Bridge
Two, those going to Obosi, Owerri, Aba, PH through the 2nd Niger Bridge.
Pressure on the old bridge will be reduced considerably.”
He did not however say how those coming from Owerrii and Porthcourt axis would navigate their way at the Oko Junction to avoid gridlock which is the fear of many of the road users.

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