The Minister of Works, Mr. David Umahi, has announced that the Federal Government is set to commence the immediate reconstruction of the Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway, following the tragic collapse of a vital bridge on the route.
Minister Umahi made this declaration during his on-the-spot assessment visit to the scene of the collapsed bridge, alongside Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, as part of his official visit to the state.
Expressing deep concern over the plight of commuters who have been affected by the bridge collapse, Minister Umahi labeled the incident as unfortunate and assured the public that the government would swiftly provide alternative routes to ease the inconvenience faced by travelers.
“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. I want to assure you that I have directed the contractor to do everything possible to provide an alternative road,” stated Minister Umahi.
He further outlined the government’s plan to assess the integrity of the second bridge and, if feasible, use it temporarily while demolishing the collapsed bridge and initiating the reconstruction process.
The minister emphasized the urgency of the situation and affirmed, “I want to have a memo which I will send to Mr. President.”
He confirmed that the initial reports and photographs of the collapsed bridge aligned with the actual scene, attributing the collapse to the exposure of the bridge’s pipes. He also noted that the bridge in question had been constructed in 1968.
In addition to discussing the bridge collapse, Minister Umahi expressed his support for the Enugu State government and commended Governor Peter Mbah’s efforts to dualize the Enugu to Abakaliki town road.
He assured Governor Mbah of prompt evaluation and action on the project’s requirements. However, he cautioned that the current economic challenges make it difficult to guarantee refunds to state governments.
Governor Peter Mbah, in his response, expressed gratitude to the minister and the Federal Government for their rapid response to the bridge collapse. He highlighted the incident as a testament to President’s commitment to lead with compassion and run an inclusive government.
“When the incident happened, we reached out to the Federal Government immediately, and within 48 hours, the minister was in the state for inspection to find a solution on how we can get at least one section of the road done to accommodate the people. This is a major gateway road, so we cried out to the Federal Government for expeditious action,” Governor Mbah stated.
As the Federal Government embarks on the reconstruction of the Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway, commuters and residents in the affected region are eagerly anticipating the restoration of this critical infrastructure, which serves as a major transportation route for both goods and people.