Jimoh Olawale, the federal controller of works in Delta, says the new second Niger Bridge will be opened to traffic on December 15.
Mr Olawale, in an interview on Wednesday in Asaba, however, said the bridge would be opened for only 30 days.
According to him, works minister Babatunde Fashola ordered the opening of the bridge, which is in 95 per cent completion stage, to ease traffic during the Yuletide.
“As we know, during the Christmas celebration, commuters suffer hardship accessing the old Niger Bridge due to traffic jams, but with this arrangement, traffic congestion on Asaba-Benin Expressway will ease,” he said.
Mr Olawale said efforts were in place to ensure hitch-free vehicular movement during the Yuletide.
“We have notified the state government of this arrangement, and we are working with the Federal Roads Safety Corps to ensure a hitch-free vehicular movement,” stated the controller. “Motorists going towards Owerri direction would divert through the access road near the old Niger Bridge to the new bridge.”
Mr Olawale debunked claims by a group alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime had abandoned the payment of compensation to property owners along the access road to the second Niger Bridge.
He explained that the government had not taken possession of any property along the 17-kilometre Okpanam-Ibusa-Asaba-Oko bypass to the new bridge but only served notice that their structures were within the government’s right of way.
The controller said compensations would be made to affected owners of properties affected by the construction.
“The federal government has appointed a consultant, Messrs C.O. Akpabor and Company to enumerate the properties for compensation. Each claimant has an attorney that liaises with the consultant, so there is totally no need for protest, more so that the federal government has not taken possession of the properties nor commenced construction work on the access road,” he explained. “As at the moment, nobody’s structure or property has been demolished.”
He added, “Federal government verification team have visited and submitted its report to Abuja, and the government will pay all compensation before work commences on the access road.”
Mr Olawale assured that the regime would complete construction work on the 17km access road before May 29, 2023.
The controller said the contract for the 110.63km Sapele-Eku-Agbor road dualisation project would be reviewed in line with current realities.
Mr Olawale added that the N64 billion project began in November 2017 and has been at a 12 per cent completion level.