Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola has said the construction of the 40-kilometer Bodo-Bonny road in Rivers State is one of the toughest in the world.
The minister spoke during a facility tour of the project site yesterday.
But he assured the state that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was not resting on its oars to ensure the completion of the project before the end of his tenure.
“This 40-kilometre road is one of the toughest terrains you can ever encounter in the world. It is made up mangrove swamp. Apart from the three main bridges, there are nine other small bridges. It’s a very massive engineering feat. I doubt if there are many projects like this across the world,” Fashola said.
The project, being handled by the construction giant, Julius Berger Plc, is said to have created at least 900 jobs in the last three and a half years with 700 direct and 200 indirect jobs.
The former Lagos State governor assured the people that the road project, when completed, would serve as a foundation for economic prosperity for the nation.
He said this explained why the Federal Government was redoubling efforts to complete it as soon as possible.
Fashola expressed optimism that the project would be delivered under the present administration, “despite being one of the toughest road projects in the world”.
The road comprises 12 bridges, nine mini-bridges and three major bridges.
Fashola said the bridges were comparable to the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State, adding that similar impacts the Mainland and Eko bridges make in Lagos would be witnessed in Rivers State soon.
“I came from a coastal community and I know what it feels like connecting the coastal communities to the main inland bridge.
“Before now, the ancestors in Bonny, Andoni used to paddle canoes for hours before they could access their homes. So, standing here today is truly historic. Three and a half years ago, when the project started, the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who kick-started the project on behalf of President Buhari, flew from Port Harcourt to Bonny Island due to lack of access road.
“I am very confident that what is happening at Eko Bridge, the Third Mainland Bridge is going to happen here. This will just be the first of many interventions of this administration,” he said.
The minister regretted that Ogoni communities, where oil has been extracted for over five decades, were neglected and abandoned by previous administrations.
He described the road as a significant project that would alleviate the suffering of the people when completed.
On the funds for the project, Fashola said: “Funding is not a challenge. We will go back and look at what time we have lost and what time we need to gain. We are doing everything possible to ensure that it is completed quickly. One of the things we have adopted is using technology, which is quite expensive.”
He praised the communities, chiefs, and elders for their peaceful disposition, which had helped to increase the pace of work on the project.