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Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works and Housing, has stated that the temporarily opened Second Niger Bridge will be tolled.
Fashola said that the bridge will be tolled to help make sure that the infrastructure is maintained to serve for several years.
The Minister disclosed this during an interview with Channel Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
He added that the delay in delivering the project was due to the relocation of transmission lines connecting the East to the West across the Niger River and the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra.
He gave the expected date to deliver the project as April or May 2023.
Fashola said, “Inevitably, the bridge will be tolled but that is the job of the NSIA because we must make sure the bridge is properly maintained. So, this is where…private sector capacity becomes useful. They may not be (able to) build capital to buy the asset but can mobilise the expertise and efficiency to operate it, of course not without due diligence being done. That is the same model as the Lekki toll gate.
“Truth be told, the target is April or May (2023) but the date keeps shifting because of sit-at-home directives.
“The current opening for motorists is for those going to the East and will last till the 1st of January. It is currently a one-way crossing. So, on the 2nd of January, we would reverse what we have done and allow people to use it from the 3rd for the East to West crossing and on the 15th, we would shut it down so that we can finish the four-kilometre access road we are trying to build, and the interchange.
“We are building in mash land so we have to dredge, accumulate sand, fill or reclaim land. You have to wait for it to settle and can’t start building the following day. We are using a technology called pre-fabricated vertical drills to accelerate.”
Commenting on the importance of the bridge, the minister said, “The purpose was to bring relief to Nigerians who transverse from East to West or from West to East of Nigeria across the river Niger and especially during the end of the year. We know that it is a logistics nightmare; we know that people will render services, go on holiday, weddings and festivities. The bridge itself is finished and the road linking it to Obosi road on the Anambra side is finished except for the interchange which is at different levels of completion.
“The road linking the bridge to Asaba side is one that we could not finish to make residents have a choice whether to use the old bridge or the new bridge. The president thought why not now, open it, let people have relief during this period.”