MINNA/By Sadiq Umar – Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello has urged Federal government to prioritize the fixing of nation’s highways to fast track the administration’s economic recovery drive.
Mr. Bello spoke shortly after conducting the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo around the collapsed bridge at Tatabu village in Mokwa Local Government area of the state.
The Governor also called on the federal government to expedite action on full reactivation of rail transport system.
This will grossly reduce the burden on the nation’s road transport system, prolong the life span of our roads, reduce cost of transporting goods and road mishap, the governor said in a statement by Jibrin Baba Ndace, his Chief Press Secretary.
The governor who blamed the deplorable state of our roads on unawesome practice of over loaded trucks plying our roads at expense of the carrying capacity of the roads, called for strict enforcement of approved road capacity to protect the condition and lifespan of our roads.
“The heavy load by trucks are responsible for the bad shape of our roads, the with most of them conveying more than the carrying capacity of our roads. The weight of these loads on our roads and bridges are to much.
The roads are not designed to carry 60-70 tons of load but trucks are seen carrying 70,000-90,000 liters of petroleum products on roads designed for 30-33 metric tons.
“If only we could control the weight of trucks on our roads while we fix our roads that are in bad shape, we stand the risk of losing more roads,” the governor cautioned.
He then advised the federal government to fully reactivate the rail transport system to ease the burden off our roads, reduce cost on haulage and road accident.
The governor also appealed to the federal government to consider trunk A roads in the state for prompt attention, since most of these roads serve as linkage to the nation’s capital and other regions of the country.
The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo assured motorists and travellers that federal government was committed to reconstructing the collapsed bridge with a promise that a temporary bridge would be completed in the next two weeks to ease the difficulties faced by motorists using the route. According to the acting President,
“This is an important route and we can assure you that the temporary road would be done as fast as possible. We have gotten the assurances from the contractor handling the road. The road will be passable in a forthnight and I believe that by then, there will be better movement of goods and vehicles.”
He then said that everything is being mobilised for the completion of the temporary road, “although there are challenges in moving materials from Jebba to the site, everyone is committed to making sure that the road is made passable as quickly as possible.”
The acting President also agreed that most of the roads across the country are taking more loads than they can carry which is causing the collpase of several roads and bridges across the country.
“This is a huge nation with several road networks and we have to understand that most of the roads are taking much heavy traffic and tonnage than they can take. This road for instance is supposed to take 35 tons but it is taking 70.”
In an effort to ease the burden the nation’s road network, the Acting President said efforts are on to revive a nationwide rail network as an alternative way of transportation.
“Our roads are not strong enough to take 70 to 80 tons of load, that is why we are working hard to make sure the rail network takes off as soon as possible.”
The chairman Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers and Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar commended the prompt attention accorded the collapsed bridge by the federal government and expressed optimism that government was committed to completing the road within the shortest time.
Director of Highway Designs and Bridges, Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Transportation in charge of the project, Engineer Sylvester Jijinri said that the temporary bridge will be completed within 14 days while the permanent dual carriage will be completed in 5 months.