Hope Rises As Delta Constructs Roads Through Coastal Communities

BY AUSTIN OYIBODE
FOR residents and indigenes of Abigborodo community, the country home of Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, traveling from Sapele to the coastal community by road has finally come to stay. The long years of navigating through the body of waters have given way to a massive bridge running through the expanse of water to the village. In January 2014, Governor Uduaghan visited the coastal community, situated in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State by road, thereby breaking the long history of accessing the community only by boat. This was so as the community had remained locked up as a result of the massive body of water separating the community from other parts of the oil rich Delta State.
All the pains of the people have now become history as the 11.5-kilometre road has linked the community to Sapele and open it up with other parts of the state. The road and bridge have not only opened it to other parts of the state, it has opened vista of opportunity for the people to take their products to the cities for business transactions and earn a decent living for themselves. In the words of the Governor, who was so excited at the project when he visited early last year, “for me it is historical and very encouraging; and I am so sentimental about it, I must tell you that a car has never been to Abigborodo before but with this bridge, that is now a thing of the past.
“The good thing now is that at least one can drive through this bridge. For the very first time, especially for those of you who have been following me to the village when we have elections, we always go by boat. Now that the bridge has been constructed and we can drive through by road, I am very happy,” the elated Uduaghan said.
Prior to the construction of the road by Levant Construction Company, the only means of entering the community from the upland was to travel to Koko, headquarters of the local government and ferry across the massive body of water through to the community.
With the new access road, going to schools in the area is now a delight for teachers and students. Also, economic activities have picked up as the road takes shape. And the best is yet to come. At a town hall meeting with the people, the governor announced the dedication of two Delta City buses to the route to ease transportation in the area. And the joy of the local people knew no bounds.
Perhaps, what has happened to the community was best captured by the project engineer, when he recalled that “before now, no car has ever come to this community, but now, people are parking cars in front of their houses. Before now, you can’t see bars or relaxation centres, but all that is in the past now. After we did the project, buildings started springing up. Now, there is a complete change here.”
A full view of the road will reveal the road as clean, dark and sparkling, showing the beautiful work done by the construction firm. A better understanding of the road could only be given if and only if one had travelled through the massive water body to the community before the construction of the bridge.
It was learnt that much land was reclaimed from the water through systematic and well coordinated sand filling which lasted for months before the land was taking over from the water, leaving only the section for the course of the river. The construction firm, it was gathered, dug about 8 metres down the soil, excavated clay and other unsuitable materials prior to sand filling and eventual construction of the road. This was done to give the road strength and make it durable following the heavy vehicle which would ply the road as economic activities boom.
THE POINTER learnt that the whole landmass was swampy and loaded with mangrove trees, making it extremely difficult for the contracting firm to break through the area. But in the words of the Regional Manager of Levant, Engr. Elias Elias, “our quality of equipment and expertise gave us the needed breakthrough and today, you can see the clean road to the Abigborodo community”.
Beside the Abigborodo Road which has been completed, except with the bridge which is yet to be asphalted, another road leading to Arhuworun community in the local government is currently undergoing sand filling by the Levant Engineers. Last Monday, the Commissioner for Special Infrastructure, Patrick Ferife, led management staff of the directorate to inspect the road. He was joined by the Regional Manager of the contracting firm, Engr. Elias Elias.
At the middle of the Aruworun Road where heavy duty vehicles were seen working and sand filling in progress, Ferife expressed satisfaction over the pace of work done by the firm. Much sand filling is still going on. But excited Ferife said he was glad that the contractor had been mobilised and had been assured that within the next three months, he would complete the sand filling of Aruworun Road. “He has assured me of that and I’m very confident because of the quality of work they are doing and even the quality of sand they are using for the sandfilling of the road,” Ferife explained.
Ferife added, “I’m really happy with the level of work they have done here but we will continue to push them until it is completed. We want it completed as soon as possible because this is one of our key roads. This will enable the governor to commission it before May 29, the terminal point of this administration. I will be very glad if the contractor can hit that deadline”.
Speaking on the difficult terrain of the area, Ferife said constructing roads in swampy areas is not as easy as constructing road in upland areas. According to him, the contracting firm dug over 8 meters down the earth to remove unsuitable materials before sand filling.
On his part, Engr. Elias said the success recorded on the roads was a feat achieved by the grace of God. He said the challenge of the area was the nature of the terrain. “It was swampy and there are organic materials that we needed to remove before sandfilling the road. That was a big challenge to us but because of our expertise and equipment, we managed to complete this job despite all the challenges”, Elias said. He said the road was awarded in August 2011.
He explained that the difficult part of the job had been done saying “what is remaining in the Aruwuron road is the three kilometer of sand filling which we would finish before the rainy season will come. As at today (January 26), we have done 75 percent of the project, we are left with 25 percent and the road will be commissioned. What remains now is the financial aspect from the government so that we complete the job on schedule”, Elias explained.
The Commissioner also visited the new polytechnics being established in Abigborodo and Sapele. At the polytechnic site in Abigborodo, he also commended the contracting firm, Deux, where he said the institution is also being built on a swampy terrain. He, however, said if the contractor could work with the pace they are working on a project awarded one year ago, he would give Deux a pass mark. “What we need to do now is to put a lot of pressure on them so that they don’t stop work before this administration expires on May 29 when we will hand over to the new government”.