PORT HARCOURT – The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Stephen Oru, has said that the East-West Road will be expanded from two to three lanes, covering 15km from Port-Harcourt to Onne Junction in Rivers.
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Oru made the statement when he launched the commencement of work for the upgrading of the road in Port-Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said the project was awarded to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), Nigeria Limited.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the road, which links Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states, is a flagship project of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The ministry inherited the 388km dual carriage from the Federal Ministry of Works in April 2009 to hasten its completion.
Oru said that with so many projects, the ministry was focused on completing the road, which was of great economic importance to the region.
He said that the upgrading of the two-lane dual carriageway to three, from Eleme Junction (Port Harcourt) to Onne Port-Harcourt Junction in Section III was important.
According to him, there will be two bridges, one at Refinery Junction and another at Onne Port Junction along the road, in addition to three traffic lanes, measuring 10.95m wide.
Oru also said that the road would have 2.75m outer shoulder and 1.5m inner shoulder as well as drains and culverts.
He said that there would be deck-on-bridge between Km 59 and Km 61 on the new carriageway to provide ultimate solution to heavy soil subsidence frequently experienced in that section of the road.
Oru said that the first four sections of the road had been completed.
”The four sections are the Warri-Kaiama road, 87.4 Km in Delta, Section II Kaiama-Port Harcourt (101 Km) in Bayelsa/Rivers states and Section III and IV Eket-Oron (51 Km) in Akwa Ibom state, ”he said.
He said that the Oron-Calabar road was the final section of the road known as Section V and was expected to reduce time spent from Oron to Calabar by two hours.
The minister said Section III had six lanes, two interchanges at Onne Port-Harcourt Junction and Eleme Refinery Junction and four bridges.
”The section of the East-West road from Port-Harcourt to Onne Junction carries the heaviest vehicular traffic on the road as it runs through the industrial hub of Rivers State.
”The activities of Port-Harcourt refineries (old and new), Eleme Petro-Chemical, NAFCON and Onne Deep Seaport are all dependent on this road.
”This section of the road has witnessed unprecedented rise in traffic volume and heavy axle loads as a result of daily increasing commercial activities,” he said
He commended the efforts of the Federal Government to bring in funds from China Exim-Bank and said the ministry would strengthen its cooperation with SURE-P to ensure the completion of the project.