Aminat Yahaya —
The Nigerian Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has inspected palliative measures in place for the anticipated temporal opening of the Second Niger Bridge today. The Minister was in company of Delta State Commissioner for Works (Highways and Urban), Noel Omodon; Acting Controller of Works, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and Resident Engineer for the project, Oluwaseyi Martins.
Others include Delta State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Bassey Esiet, and other top federal and state governments officials.
Fashola emphasised that the toll plaza would be open, but no toll would be collected, reminding the public not to pay any money to anybody at the plaza, as it remains free passage during the period.
Oluwasyi Martins, while assuring travellers and motorists of smooth movement during the Yuletide, explained that the bridge would be open to traffic inward Onitsha-Owerri from midnight until January 3, when it would be open to traffic inward Asaba from Onitsha/Owerri till January 15, next year.
Speaking at the Oko by-pass (close to the beginning of the old bridge), Martins stated that the toll plaza would be open to connect the bridge all through the period of one month.
Martins assured road users that the bridge would be lit at night all through the one month it will be open.
On his part, Esiet said the corps would collaborate with relevant agencies to avert gridlock along the First Niger Bridge, adding that the temporary opening of the Second Niger Bridge was to ease the traffic load and ensure that travellers get to their destination in time.
He said: “From December 15, the Second Niger Bridge will be opened to vehicles coming from West to East through Asaba. However, from January 2, 2023, only vehicles coming from the East to West will be allowed to use the Second Niger Bridge.
“Members of the public are also informed that heavy duty trucks and trailers will not be allowed to use the new bridge.”
Esiet urged motorists to avoid speeding, overloading, use of unsafe tyres and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs to arrive alive during the season.
The Second Niger Bridge connects the Southeast with the South-South/Southwest through Onitsha, Anambra State and vice versa through Asaba, Delta State.
Construction workers and security officers, yesterday, warned commercial motorcyclists (okada riders) to steer clear of the road until January 15 when the bridge will be open to traffic, as it would be one-way throughout the period.
Some of the workers took time to educate okada riders on the need for them to keep off the road during the period to avoid accidents and crashes.