Dave Umahi, minister of works, says the Federal Government will begin immediate reconstruction of the collapsed Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway.
Umahi said this when he jointly visited the collapsed site with Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu for an on-the-spot assessment as part of his working visit to the state. He said that the government would in the meantime, provide alternative roads for the people.
“We are going to look at the second bridge and see how far the remedial work will be done on it. We are going to scale up the reconstruction of the two bridges alongside the road construction.
Read also: Enugu-Port Harcourt bridge collapses
“I have directed the contractor to do everything possible to provide an alternative road. We are also going to work on the second bridge to ascertain the integrity of the bridge and see if we can use it while we demolish the collapsed one and start the reconstruction.
“I believe the contractor is hearing us and the process will start immediately. I want to have a memo which I will send to Mr. President.”
The minister added that the report and pictures of the collapsed bridge sent to him were the same as what he was seeing.
He explained that the collapse occurred because the pipes were exposed, adding that the bridge was constructed in 1968. He assured the Enugu State government of his support and thanked him for dualising the Enugu-Abakaliki town road.
“We have gotten your letter on that and I will be sending my men to come and evaluate it. I can assure you that within the next seven days, you must hear from us; we are doing the drains and will give you our standard and bills of quantities.
“It is difficult for me to assure any governor that wants a refund, I cannot say, because we came into office and inherited an economy that has more than 90 percent of its income is used to service debts.
Mbah thanked Umahi and the Federal Government for the prompt response to the bridge collapse, saying that it underscored the president’s commitment when he took the oath of office.
“He is committed to lead with compassion and run an inclusive government, and that is what we are seeing here today.”
He explained that when the incident happened, he reached out to the government at the centre and within 48 hours the minister was in the state for an inspection to see how they could get at least one section of the road done to accommodate the people.