By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has officially affirmed that the Second Niger Bridge will be opened to traffic for one month begining from 15 December, 2022 as part of commitment to ease movement of travellers and ensure timely arrival at their destinations as the Christmas season (Yuletide) lasts.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola made this known during his ‘Ember month’ meeting with stakeholders in his office in Abuja to discuss way forward for the roads as the season sets in.
Yuletide which coincides with end of year is a period when massive movement of people, goods and services is experienced.
As such, “the Ember month” meeting is hosted by the minostry annually, bringing the stakeholders together to look the activities proposed and being undertaken by the ministry and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) among others to improve the experience of road users during the season.
Fashola said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the opening of the 2nd Niger bridge to traffic from December 15, 2022 to January 15,2023 to ease human, goods, services and vehicular movements during this yuletide from the Western part of the country to the Eastern part.
“Let me be clear again .We haven’t finished construction work but we will open it for people to use to relieve the pressure from the old bridge. It wouldn’t be available for heavy duty trucks.It would only be small vehicles for now until we finish our work. On the 15th of January 2023 we would reverse that movement for those coming from the east to the west. We have told all the contractors that they shouldn’t open any sections of federal roads for construction during the yuletide. That means that there shouldn’t be any barrier on the roads this season.”
On the barriers mounted at different points of the roads, the Minister said, “We have told all the contractors that they shouldn’t open anymore sections for construction i.e. there shouldn’t be any barrier on the roads this season. “
He also warned against overspeeding as they are being made more motorable than before, urging road users adhere to the standard speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour (KM/h).
He appealed to the Federal Roads Safety Corps, which was also represented at the meeting to apprehend any on driving above the approved speed limit of 100km/h.
Reporting on what is being done to improve the condition of roads earlier, Mr Adedamola Kuti, the Director, Highway South-South, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing
said the ministry had 24,000 km of major repair and rehabilitation of roads.
“We have all together 24000 km. Major repair works, major rehabilitation and special repairs. We have at least 156 roads, totalling about N97 billion.