60% work on Loko-Oweto Bridge executed, project to be ready in Oct. 2015




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ABUJA – The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, on Thursday said work on the Loko-Oweto over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue had attained 60 per cent completion level.

The minister who stated this in Loko, Nasarawa State said the would be delivered by the contractor in October 2015.

Onolememen had said this while inspecting the bridge during the National Good Governance Media Tour with the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku.

He said the for the 1.1 kilometre bridge project was awarded on Nov. 30, 2011 at the sum of N36 billion to Messrs R.C.C Nigeria Ltd.

The minister said the impact of the 2012 flooding affected the original design of the bridge and this was responsible for the initial delay of the job.

He said that all necessary corrections were effected and steady progress had been made on the project which had a completion period of 48 months.

Onolememen said the bridge which crossed River Benue would facilitate transportation from the Loko end in Nasarawa State to the Oweto end in Benue.

“This is far ahead of the 50 per cent we expect to have reached about this .

“What is more  significant  about this project  is that since the 1980s when the Ibrahim Babangida administration constructed  the River bridge, about 25 years ago, no bridge had been constructed here.

“Now, we have this bridge and the second River Niger Bridge is also in progress.

“This is a testimony to the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda in the road sector.

“I am very impressed with the level of work we are seeing and I am glad that the project has reached about 60 per cent completion as at today.

“This is very good and from their (the contractor’s) schedule, I have seen that the contractor is working and very likely to finish ahead of the scheduled date.

“The contractor will be able to gain about three months ahead of the contract period,’’ he said.

Onolememen said the bridge would help to improve the economy of the two states, adding that it would turn around business and transportation in the states.

He urged the construction company to comply with Federal Government’s directive that it should ensure that the host communities derive benefits, by way of employment, to enhance local content.

“Apart from this, the project will enable the people in the North-Central zone, particularly in Abuja, to travel with ease to the South-East and other parts of the country,’’ the minister said.

Onolememen said the project did not experience any funding challenge due to the additional funding from the SURE- P.

He said funding for the access road to the bridge had also been captured in the 2014 budget.

“We are in the process of awarding the road so that the access road can also be completed about the  same time the bridge will be completed  in October 2015,’’ the minister said.

Also speaking, Maku said the bridge was one of Federal Government’s major projects in Nasarawa State.

“This is a very historic project. With this bridge alone, the North Central zone has changed. We can now move to the South-East and South-South easily.

“This bridge will up the North-Central and it will in turn spring up development, because it will spur transportation and businesses in the two states.

“Accordingly, works on the rail line from Port Harcourt, through Enugu, Makurdi, Kudi,  Moro, Kafanchan, , up to Maiduguri, will be  completed by the end of the year,’’ Maku said.

He said the present administration had tried its best in spite of the security challenges facing the country, adding that it could do more with peace in place.

“President Goodluck Jonathan has sent me here with a message of peace. He said if you can give him peace, development will be faster because lack of peace is hampering his commitment to development.

“This is because while he is building bridges, roads, schools and developing the nation, some people are busy killing people. This is not good.

“We need to give the country peace, so that we can do better,’’ the minister said.(NAN)