…as plan in place to ease traffic at Yuletide

Minister of Works, David Umahi says the Federal Government is soon to put the newly completed Second Niger Bridge up for concessioning.

This implies that users of the bridge will pay tolls.

Umahi disclosed this at the weekend, during the handing over ceremony of the bridge to the Federal Government by construction firm, Julius Berger, where he confirmed that the contractor had carried out repairs on the vandalised portions.

In a brief ceremony at the toll area of the bridge,the minister expressed satisfaction with the project.

Umahi said the bridge is open to concessioning to any private company which would be ready to complete all the ancillary roads, collect tolls and recoup investments.

He added that modalities to ease traffic at the old and new bridges during the festive period are being worked out.

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The Second Niger Bridge (a 1.6km river crossing six lane tolled bridge with a total project length of 11.9km including the ancillary roads) was awarded to Julius Berger by the Nigerian government and started in 2015.

Nigeria’s former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had said that to sustainably maintain the Second Niger Bridge, the facility would be tolled when fully operational.

In a typical service concession arrangement, an operating entity operates and maintains for a period of time, the infrastructure of the grantor that will be used to provide a public service.

In exchange, the operating entity may receive payments to perform those services, in this case, tolls from users of the bridge.

The 1.6 kilometers long bridge links Anambra and Delta states.

Industry watchers say the Second Niger Bridge project is strategic in that it will decongest the existing Niger Bridge, boost economic activities and connect the South-East with the rest of the country.

The project was funded through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) created by President Muhammadu Buhari and managed by the NSIA. Project cost was put at N336billion.