By Eme Offiong (VON)
The construction of a dual carriage road linking Akwa Ibom and Cross River State will begin in a few weeks.
The Controller of Works, Federal Ministry of Works in Calabar, Bassey Nsentip stated this during a chat with some journalists on efforts to cushion the hardship experienced by commuters along the one of access road to Cross River.
Nsentip, who sympathised with commuters travelling in and out of Calabar through the Calabar -Itu highway, said; “the people should hope for a dualized road very soon because the Nigerian Government has already awarded Odukpani junction to Ikot Nyong gas plant to Julius Berger and recently awarded the Ikot Nyong gas plant to Itu Bridge axis.”
The Controller noted that the Ministry had finalised procurement technicalities on that second part of the road project, saying “very soon, people will see the contractors coming to site to work. You know during the rains we can not do full construction work, that is why you are not seeing active construction activities going-on at the site.”
He further explained that construction activities were slow due to the rains, pledging that serious work would commence as soon as the weather improves.
Prepping for remedial workAccording to the Controller of Works, the Ministry urged Julius Berger, the construction company that won the bid, to mobilise to site for remedial works on the road.
“We are trying to do some remedial work through the contractors that have been awarded the contracts. Right now, Julius Berger is already working doing some palliatives on the Akwa Ibom stretch of the road. If you have been there recently, you will notice that some parts of the road, which were extremely bad are now accessible. With the progress, it is coming to the Cross River end too,”Nsentip stated.
He said; “We in Cross River are putting some pressure on Julius Berger to come and resume work. I can assure you that very soon Julius Berger will come to site to start work here.
“We had some funding challenges at the initial stage that has caused some delay because Julius Berger actually wanted to establish their site yard on the Cross River side of the project and that means their site layout, Asphalt plant, batching plant – all of them would be established here close to where we have the quarries in Cross River and then run the project.
”The matter of funding is being handled at our Ministry’s headquarters. I can assure you that very soon these challenges will be a thing of the past.”
ExpectationSome travelers have high expectations that the reconstruction of the Calabar-Itu road would actually commence before the rains intensifies.
Obungabia Joseph, a commuter, who recently returned from Akwa Ibom State appealed, “I spent over 5 hours on that road, I was lucky because some spend 2 to 3 days just to get to Akwa Ibom. We need the government to come to our aid. While we are waiting for the dualisation of the Calabar- Itu road, let them help us rehabilitate the road first.”
“The Calabar-Itu road was constructed in 1975, that is 45 years ago. It has expired and needs to be reconstructed. If nothing is done between now and August, Cross River will be cut off from the rest of the country,” he added.
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