Mr Innocent Alumonah, Federal Controller of Works, Anambra says the Federal Government will complete repair work on the existing Niger Bridge before the end of December.
Alumonah, who gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Asaba, said that the contract awarded in 2013 was 78 per cent completed.
He said the essence of the emergency repair work was to ensure that the bridge was brought back to its full functionality and increase its lifespan.
The controller said the existing bridge was constructed in 1965 and commissioned in 1966, adding that the bridge had enjoyed a lifespan of 53 years.
“You can agree with me that the bridge is aging and experiencing heavy traffic in addition to the axle loads going through it on daily basis.
“It is on this premise that the federal government decided to award contract for the reinforcement of the bridge to bring it back to full functionality and extend its lifespan,” he said.
He said the scope of works on the project was mainly replacement of the damaged steel members, sandblasting and treatment of steel members against rusting.
Alumonah said the scope of the work also involved increasing the bearing capacity of the soil after it was realised that the wearing capacity was becoming weak.
“Soil line protection that will ensure that embankment of the bridge is not eroded and the replacement of the bridge bearing has all been carried out.
“Before the end of this year, we should see the end of the project because it is currently at its completion stage,” he said.
He blamed the delay in the completion of the project on some of the test carried out that required the assistance of some foreigners.
According to him, they brought in some foreigners from the UK who helped in the execution of the stabilisation of the soil.
Mr Henry Udeh, the Director of Highways Bridges Construction, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing said bridges, like other structures required regular maintenance.
He said the existing Niger Bridge was undergoing normal routine maintenance because it was old and needed to be maintained to increase its lifespan.
“The work is seasonal because, as the raining season is setting in, the water level will start increasing.
“Once it gets to a time that the contractor cannot work again, they will stop and wait for the next dry season.
“That is one of the major reasons for the delay in the project,” he said.