Chief Jerry Alagbaoso, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) says the Imomaruru-Ezinihite bridge linking Imo and Anambra has reached 95 per cent completion stage.
Alagbaoso, representing Orlu/Oru East/Orsu Federal Constituency of Imo, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) in Awka on Thursday.
He called on people of the area and motorists not to ply the bridge until it was formally declared open in few weeks’ time.
The lawmaker said he initiated and ensured that the project was appropriated for in the budget.
He expressed satisfaction with the quality and speed of the bridge project which he described as ‘strategic and crucial’ to economic and social interaction of the neighbouring communities in particular and the two states at large.
Alagbaoso lauded the management of FERMA under Mr Nuruddeen Rafindadi and team of engineers for doing a good job and delivering on time.
“The Amaruru-Ezinihite link bridge project has reached advanced stage; it is about 95 per cent delivered and hopefully by the end of this month the works there would have been completed.
“The project is executed by FERMA and it is worth about N300 million, at some point my colleague, Rep Chris Azubuogu representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in Anambra, who was the Chairman of Committee on Appropriation, keyed in.
“This is because the border community on Anambra side is under his constituency and he complemented the effort by contributing an appropriation of one-third of the project sum.
“The bridge has not been declared open, so my appeal is that users should exercise patience until the contractors fully handover, as a matter of fact, I have directed that barricades be put there for now,” he said.
Also speaking on the job done, Mr Chukwuemeka Maduagwu, FERMA engineer in-charge of the site, told NAN that the Urasi River Bridge was 40 metres long and 11 metres wide, including the concrete walkways on both sides.
According to him, we decided that a new bridge be constructed instead of maintaining the old one and we painstakingly ensured that the design is translated on ground.
“The bridge is a 3-span bridge of over 40 metres with a carriageway width of 11 meters inclusive of concrete walkways on both sides,” he said.
Mr Celestine Agbodike, who plies the route, said the rebuilt bridge would reduce both the time and cost of movement between the states when it became operational.
Agbodike, a legal practitioner said the lawmaker had defined quality representation by addressing the critical need of his people.
“When the bridge collapsed years ago, it became difficult for us to connect our neighbours in Nnewi South of Anambra, we had to travel longer routes.
“But when the project eventually become functional, it will take just about 25 minutes to move from Orlu to Amichi, that was a journey of more than one hour using alternative routes.
“So Chief Alagbaoso has added a lot of value to the life of large population of Imo and Anambra people who use this route,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the bridge was an old route that connects Imo state through Amararu in Orsu Local Government Area to Anambra through Ezinihite in Nnewi South Council Area over the Urasi River.
The economic and social interaction between the border communities were severed when the ‘Colonial Bailey Bridge’ linking them collapsed years ago, efforts by the people affected to fix it proved futile.