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Yuletide: Finally, FG Okays Second Niger Bridge for Use Thursday Midnight

Yuletide: Finally, FG Okays Second Niger Bridge for Use Thursday Midnight

…To shut down on January 15, 2023 for further works 

Chiemelie Ezeobi 

From midnight, Thursday, December 14, the Second Niger Bridge would be opened for mobility for road users, the federal government has said. 

The 1.6 km long bridge, 10.3 km Highway and Owerri interchange is intended to relieve the perennial traffic road users face on the existing Niger Bridge, especially during the Yuletide. 

The Second Niger Bridge, which is a key national infrastructure, with immense socio-economic benefits for the contiguous states and indeed the entire nation, was kicked off through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, in collaboration with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

42 months after the work began, the opening of the bridge for the yuletide will ease traffic flow, improve road safety, and create greater opportunities for local residents by advancing the commercial viability of the immediate area and regenerating economic life.

While visiting the bridge for an on-the-spot assessment prior its opening, the Minister of Works, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, cautioned road users to drive safely and responsibly, adding that the objective of President Muhammadu Buhari was to save lives and alleviate poverty caused by the man hours wasted in traffic on the first bridge.

He said: “The president approved that since the bridge is finished that we should create an access road so that during Christmas you can begin to experience what it would feel like plying the bridge.”

On the speed limit he said: “The maximum speed limit on Nigerian roads is 100km per hour. Don’t drive 101km per hour. 

“The president will be happy to see users drive safely and responsibly while using this road especially during this Christmas and New Year seasons.”

Clarifying the timeline for opening, he said whilst the bridge would be officially opened midnight on Thursday, December 15, 2022, it would close on January 15, 2023.

He said: “We haven’t finished construction work on the bridge but we would open it for people to use to relieve pressure from the one bridge. 

“On the January 15, 2023, we would reverse that movement for those coming from the east to the west.”

On funding for the construction, he said:   “A lot of people have talked about a solution but the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration decided to build the bridge whatever it took. 

“So, wherever the funds came from, investment income, from our oil assets, repatriation of some funds that were stolen out of Nigeria came in from the US.

“The result is now what we see. When people are talking about poverty, the biggest part of it is not the monetary poverty, is the multidimensional poverty.

“When you spend two to three days trying to cross a bridge, that’s poverty, because it should take just a few minutes so that you can go and do more productive things.”

During the inspection, it was gathered that the interchange would cut off a lot of traffic from the expressway as road users can connect directly to Obosi and Owerri, thus saving a lot of manhours. 

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