ACTING President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday gave contractors handling the temporary bridge at Tatabu village in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State two weeks to complete the work.
Tatabu bridge, which is one of the bridges linking the North with the South-West geopolitical zone, was washed away two months ago by flood caused by heavy rain.
No fewer than 2,000 trailers, tankers and other vehicles have been stranded since the bridge collapsed, leading to loss of perishable goods worth hundreds of thousands of naira.
Osinbajo, accompanied by the state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, visited the site of the collapsed bridge for assessment and directed the contractors to complete the project in two weeks.
The Acting President was shocked by the extent of damage caused by the flood, which also washed away the rail line.
He said, “This is an important route and we can assure you all that the temporary road will be done as fast as possible. We have got the assurances of the contractors handling the road. The road will be passable in a fortnight.
“The government will surely find a permanent solution to the frequent collapse of bridges along this very important highway which links the North and South-West geopolitical zone of the country.”
He said the contractor had been mobilised to ensure speedy completion of the bridge, stressing that “though there are challenges in moving materials from Jebba to the site due to the long queue of trailers, I can assure you that everyone is committed to making sure the road is made passable as quickly as possible.”
The Federal Government, he added, was working towards reviving the rail transportation system to reduce pressure on roads.
“The roads are not strong enough to take 70 to 80 tonnes of load; that is why we are working hard to make sure the rail network takes off as soon as possible.
“This is a huge nation with several road networks and we have to understand that most of the roads are taking much heavy traffic and tonnage than they can take,” he said.
He appealed to motorists to exercise patience and cooperate with the contractors to ensure that the work went on as scheduled.
Earlier, the Director of Highway Designs and Bridges from the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transportation in charge of the project, Sylvester Jijingi, assured the Acting President it would take 14 days to complete the bridge.
Jijingi added that the permanent bridge would be completed in December this year.
He said N2.5bn had been released for the completion of the project.