The Federal Government has directed the contractor handling the construction and rehabilitation works on the N40billion Port Harcourt – Aba highway project to fast track and ensure quick completion of the project.
The multibillion naira Federal project is being handled by China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), which has assured that January 2020 delivery date is feasible.
The project supervisor, Mr. Idongesit Ebotakpan, during an inspection of the project site in Port Harcourt at the weekend, revealed that the Federal Government gave the marching order and directed that the job should be top quality.
He explained that the project, which is expected to have a 50-year lifespan would meet the best standard, stressing, “nobody is joking with the quality of job on the road.”
He revealed that the Minister of Works, Mr Babatunde Fashola, while awarding the contract, was specific that the quality of job done on the road must be world standard.
“This is a dual carriage road, the distance is from Eleme Juction to Aba that is the exact length of the project. The first contract was about N34 billion, but there were some important issues arising along the way like the issue of not taking care of road drainage after construction, so that called for a re-design of the project and the current design which is expected to consume N40 billion will take care of those setbacks.
“We have changed the whole design of the road and the present design has four lanes on both side (taking it) to eight lanes on completion, that is where we are now.
“So rehabilitation work will be from Imo bridge down to Aba, what we are doing here will also be replicated at Aba axis with four lanes making it eight lanes at the end”
The Aba/ PortHarcourt road is a very strategic road to the nation’s economy as it links Aba and other industrial heartland of the East with Port Harcourt, the nations oil hub.
The road has been in a very dilapidated state for a long time thus crippling business activities, while creating opportunities for kidnappers and bandits who take advantage of the bad state to attack traders and other road users.
Also speaking, the Project Director, Mr. Charles Okonma, lauded President Muhammad Buhari for approving the project which according to him, would alleviate the sufferings of the masses and add positive value to the economy.
His words: “One of the main policies of president Buhari administration is the economic recovery and growth plan ( ERGP), and one of the plans on that policy platform is massive infrastructural development, of which this project is one of them. You know when you improve in infrastructure you are growing the economy and when you grow the economy you take people out of poverty.”
“Works have started fully, the initial project design problems has been overcome, we will ensure that the project is completed at the stipulated time, the contractors doesn’t have any payment problems and additional funds will be made available as the project goes on’’.
The CCECC Project contractor, George Gao assured Nigerians that the project would be delivered at the agreed time of January 2020, acknowledging that the job has been properly funded by the government .
He said “We are not lacking anything in terms of funds, and from now on work has started fully. We have 41 kilometers from Aba road, Eleme junction to Imo river bridge.
“The entire length of the road we are working on is 41 kilometers. We have two registered engineer and we have 15 technicians like mechanics, carpenters, surveyors and others. The duration of this project is 30 months and we will stick to that’’.
The spokesman for Oyigbo Community, Mr. Alex Ibe, thanked the Federal Government for the project, stating that it would ensure free movement and ease traffic congestion in the ever busy expressway.
The Chairman of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Dr. Howells Hart described the project as a wonderful initiative and urge the government to do more.