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FG lists 2nd Niger Bridge, 2 others as ‘critical economic routes’, top priority in 2017

Additional indication has emerged showing the preparedness of the Federal Government to fix the Second Niger Bridge this year as the bridge leads other major roads including the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Lokoja Road in being listed as the “critical economic routes” in the country.

First indication to the readiness of the government in the fixing of the second Niger Bridge was the release of about N14bn for the main contractor, Julius Berger who has since gone to site at Oba end of the bridge.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola at the Senate Committee on Works to defend the 2017 budget proposal by the ministry.

It would be recalled that the ministry had proposed a budget of N564,211,583,496 for the three sectors and parastatals under it, out of which works is to get N311,487,641,643.

Explaining more on the prioritization of projects in 2017, Fashola noted that highway projects were categorised into six – from priority I to VI.

While disclosing that “The intention is to give priority attention to projects at arterial highways and record appreciable progress in order of importance of the projects,” he explained that “under Priority 1, which he termed as “national priority projects,” include projects “on critical economic routes on the federal road network.”

“These are highly trafficked North-South, East-West routes used for the distribution of goods and services across the country and major river-crossing bridges.” The sum of N150,470,553,292, which represents 62.22 per cent, is proposed to execute “national priority 1” projects in 2017.

“Some of the projects are the construction of Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha; construction of the dual carriageway of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja (Sections I-IV) in FCT/Kogi State; construction  of the Kano-Maiduguri dual carriage Road (Sections I-V) in Kano/Bauchi/Yobe/Borno states; and the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway (Sections I-IV) in Enugu/Abia/Rivers states.”

“Rehabilitation/reconstruction of the Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Expressway in Lagos/Oyo states; construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge in Nasarawa/Benue states; reconstruction of outstanding sections of Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Sagamu Road in Edo/Ondo/Ogun states; rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road section I: Odukpani-Itu Bridgehead; and rehabilitation of Ilorin-J’ebba-Mokwa Road.”

Giving insights on projects on second priority, Fashola said they are projects being executed along the branch routes from the critical economic routes on the federal road network.

According to him, “These roads serve as links between the major routes and agricultural producing hubs, factories and mining deposits for the evacuation of agricultural produce, manufactured goods and raw materials to markets and ports across the country. The sum of N43,143,299,357, which represents 17.84 per cent, is proposed to execute “National Priority 2” projects in 2017.”

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