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Delta moves to complete bridges, roads in riverine areas

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On-going construction of main axial road in Okerenkoko, Warri South West, Delta state.

Sony Neme, AsabaFollowing concerns over abandoned projects in the riverine communities, the Delta State Government has moved to complete the projects, such as bridges and roads.

One of such projects embarked upon by previous and present administrations is the Ode Itsekiri-Trans Warri with 19 bridges and Egbedi and Ayakoroma bridge linking Ugheli South with Burutu, which will enable vehicles to drive in and out of the Ijaw heartland for the first time ever when completed.

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The Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye told The Guardian, in Asaba, that the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa administration has done so much in terms of road construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitations across the 25 local government areas of the state.

“As a ministry, we have awarded 439 roads, aside from those done by sister ministries like that of Urban Renewal, the Capital Development Territory Agency, Warri/Uvwie Special Development Agency, and Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC,” he said.

Chief Augoye said with the jobs done, “these roads that we have respectively constructed need to be properly connected, especially in the swampy terrain in the riverine areas. That is why the government decided that some of the bridge projects that were started by the previous administration, such as the Ode Itsekiri – Trans Warri road have to be continued by this administration.

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“That project was awarded in 2006, with the contractor, Setraco, mobilizing to the site on November in 2007 and before the end of that administration in 2015, they had achieved five kilometers of road and successfully completed five bridges. That takes us from Ubeje down to the riverside where we have farm tanks, and the governor insisted that there is the need for us to connect the road to Ode-Istekiri, which has required us to construct 26 kilometers of the road”.

Augoye, recalled that, due to the paucity of funds, “Governor Okowa directed that we should concentrate on the main alignment that cuts across so many communities, such as Ubeje, Ijala, Ugbodede, Orogbo, Ajigba, Inorin, and Osele, which is about 12.8 kilometers.

“That again increases the number of bridges to 19 with ten successfully completed so far (it includes the five already completed by the Uduaghan administration), while the remaining nine are at various stages of completion.

“We took over the project because of its strategic interest to the state, as we want to open it up for investors. We also have the Ayakoroma bridges that we inherited from the previous government. It is a very strategic project connecting Egbedi and Ayakoroma communities in Ughelli South and Burutu Local government areas respectively. As we speak, the project is about 70 per cent completed.

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The pilling work is almost completed as the contractor is in the middle of the river. We pray that by the second quarter of 2021 it would have been completed. When completed, it will open commercial activities in that area.

“Another bridge that we have also worked on, which was started by this administration, is the 40 meters length Orere, Agbarho – Otokutu road, which has been a major challenge to the people there. It is fully completed, while the approach road is 70 percent ready. We do hope the contractor meets the deadline”.

According to him, the paucity of funds occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the rejigging of the budget and weather as major setbacks for his ministry.

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“All these achievements did not come without its challenges, as bridge constructions are capital intensive, so it is not easy at this time to actually get some of these bridges completed. But the governor is desirous of getting these bridges completed before the end of his tenure.

“The downsizing of the budget actually affected the activities of the ministry of works greatly. What happened was that the projects that were not awarded before the pandemic were all removed? So the concentration is on ongoing projects, which will, to some extent, affect our activities that were planned for this year. Because what we do annually is to have our work plans, which is what we intend to achieve each year. But with the removal of those projects, our target would no longer be possible”.

The commissioner while appraising collaborative efforts of intervention agencies frowned on the unfavourable roles of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in their relationship with the state.

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