FEDERAL government has assured that Second Niger Bridge project will be completed before the end of the year and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, dropped the hint during an inspection visit to the complex on Tuesday.
Describing the Second Niger Bridge as a national infrastructure with immense socio-economic benefits for the contiguous states and indeed the entire nation, Fashola, who inspected the project alongside Chief of Staff to President, Ibrahim Gambari and others, said that the project has once again demonstrated the president’s commitment to bridging the infrastructure gap in the country.
Explaining the project as being executed by Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and funded through Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund in conjunction with Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Fashola said work on the bridge had reached appreciable level and appealed to the communities around the impressive Second Niger Bridge project to bear with the federal government as power supply was going to be interrupted for two weeks to put finishing touches to the project , adding that adequate notice would be given ahead when that would be done.
According to him, Federal Executive Council had approved a National Tolling Policy that is of international standard, adding that there is possibility of managing the bridge through a concession arrangement.
“Once we have finished, if they choose to concession, they can concession. Concessioning of projects is regulated by law. There are rules on how it is done. We are currently supervising the concession of 12 highways across Nigeria through the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) and the process is open to the general public. So, if we choose to concession this one, it will also be opened to the general public,” Fashola said.
Also speaking during the visit, Gambari said the bridge will be tolled when completed, but there would be alternative routes.
According to him, priority of the government was to get the project delivered.
“So, when this bridge is tolled, the old bridge is an alternative route, so you have the choice to make between speed and price,” Gambari said.
Federal Controller of Works in Anambra State and Engineer Representative of Second Niger Bridge, Ajani Adeyemo said that the existing Niger Bridge was built in 1965, noting that it has remained the crucial East-West link over the years.