Construction giant and contractor of the Second Niger Bridge, Julius Berger, has officially handed over the Second Niger Bridge to the Federal Government.
The 1.6 kilometres long bridge links Anambra and Delta states and was estimated to ₦336 Billion.
Initially, the project was launched on May 23, 2023, during the eve of the former president, Muhammad Buhari’s tenure.
However, there were ancillary roads and other construction works that needed to be done after the inauguration.
In a short ceremony held at the toll area of the bridge, Minister of Works Dave Umahi expressed approval of the project. He verified that repairs on the vandalized sections were successfully executed by the contractor.
He pointed out that the bridge is open to concession for any private company prepared to finish all associated roads, handle toll collection, and recover their investments.
He also suggested that plans are in progress to alleviate traffic at both the old and new bridges during the upcoming festive season.
What the FG is Saying
Moreover, Umahi commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to road infrastructure revolution, with the completion of the second Niger Bridge.
The minister said that the completion of the second main Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State, would help a lot in reducing the traffic congestion of the area.
He, however, added that the project was not fully completed:
- “The roads are going to be completed when we have completed the two interchanges: one is taking us off from Asaba town to cut off the traffic, and the other one is going to be done by Reynolds Construction Company Ltd to avoid Onitsha town and take you straight to Obosi,” he said.
For his part, the Managing Director, of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Lars Richter, said the handover was just a technical one.
- “The Main Second Niger Bridge has been completed. The toll stations are also ready for use,” Lars said.
What you should know
The idea of constructing the Second Niger Bridge emerged in 1978/79, with Shehu Shagari, then a candidate for the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), championing the proposal.
Meanwhile, under the subsequent military governments, the projects received little attention. Upon the return to civilian rule, President Olusegun Obasanjo promised to deliver a second Niger River bridge.
However, his administration did not carry out any major activity on the project until five days before he handed it over to the then-incoming administration of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua when Obasanjo flagged off the project in Asaba.
In August 2012, under Jonathan’s administration, the Federal Executive Council approved an N325 million contract for the bridge’s final planning and design.
During the 2011 Nigerian general election campaign, Jonathan pledged to complete the project before his term’s end in 2015.
In 2015, the Buhari administration initially cancelled the earlier contract approved by Jonathan’s administration.
However, the government decided to fund the project through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) created by President Muhammadu Buhari and managed by the NSIA.
PIDF was also used to fund the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano-Road
The bridge opened for local traffic on December 15, 2022. To accommodate the ongoing construction of connecting roads, temporary routes have been established, ensuring the bridge’s accessibility during the Christmas holidays. Currently, there is no charge for crossing the bridge.