By Ignatius Ushie
In its bid to develop and maintain infrastructure developments in the Niger Delta region, the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA) Sen. Godswill Akpabio, CON, has appealed to indigenes of the host communities at the Eleme and Onne axis of the East- West road to support ongoing efforts of government aimed at completing the road project as scheduled.
In a statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja, the Minister made this call during his meeting with Stakeholders and Management of Reynold Construction Company (RCC) in his office in Abuja.
Sen. Akpabio who noted that Government has not abandoned the road as being insinuated in some quarters, explained that the Ministry has been working with the construction company in charge of the road project and it has given assurance that the 338KM East-West road which has been under construction since 2006 would be fixed and delivered by 2022.
According to him, “the road, particularly the Eleme Junction and the Onne Port junction area is in a deplorable state, noting that the road when it was first awarded in 2006, was still in very good shape and was therefore excluded from the original contract, however, 15 years after that section has gone bad.
“We have had some apotheosis that have come up within the road corridor, which was not in the original plan, for instance, the Ministry of Power has built a major power Sub-Station by the Eleme junction, and a lot of other structures have also come on board while a section of the bridge at Aleto also collapsed due to erosion at the embayment of the bridge and due to these unforeseen circumstances, a section of the road was to be redesigned to preserve the sub-station which is germane to the sustenance of economic activities within the region”.
The Minister added that the Federal Government has released N2.5b to RCC as part of outstanding payment and also made available N1.17bn to enable the payment of compensation to property owners affected in the road construction. Speaking further, the Minister disclosed that due to the volume of traffic on the road, it has become imperative that the road be expanded to six lanes and additional flyovers would be accommodated in the construction work.