The Minister of Works, Senator Dave Umahi, said the Federal Government would begin immediate reconstruction of the collapsed Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway.
Umahi said this when he and Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State visited the scene of the collapsed bridge for an on-the-spot assessment as part of his working visit to the state.
He said that the reconstruction of the bridge would end the plight of commuters plying the road, adding that the collapse of the bridge was unfortunate, and the government would in the meantime, provide alternative road for the people.
According to him, “We are going to look at the second bridge and see how far the remedial work will be done on it. We are going to scale up the reconstruction of the two bridges alongside with the road construction.
“I want to assure you that I have directed the contractor to do everything possible to provide an alternative road.
“We are going to work on the second bridge to ascertain the integrity of the bridge and see if we can use it while we demolish the collapsed one and start the reconstruction.
“I believe the contractor is hearing us and the process will start immediately. I want to have a memo which I will send to Mr President.”
The minister added that the report and pictures of the collapsed bridge sent to him were the same with what he was seeing.
He explained that the collapse occurred because the pipes were exposed, adding that the bridge was constructed in 1968.
He assured the Enugu Government of his support, and thanked him for his initiative in dualising the Enugu to Abakaliki town road.
“We have gotten your letter on that and I will be sending my men to come and evaluate it. I can assure you that within the next 7 days you must hear from us; we are doing the drains, and will give you our standard and bills of quantities.
“It is difficult for me to assure any governor that wants a refund, I cannot say, because we came into office and inherited an economy that has more than 90 per cent of its income being used to service debts.
Mbah thanked Umahi and the FG for the prompt response to the bridge collapse, saying that it underscored the president’s commitment when he took the oath of office.
“He is committed to lead with compassion and run an inclusive government, and that is what we are seeing here today.”
He explained that when the incident happened, he reached out to the FG immediately and within 48 hours the minister was in the state for inspection to find solution on how they can get at least one section of the road done to accommodate the people.
“This is a major gateway road so we cried out to the FG for expeditious action,” Mbah said.