Solomon Lists Road Projects, Costs And Their Benefits

252 Inter/Intra City, Rural Road Projects
58 Drainage Projects
By CHUKWUDI ABIANDU
The bi-weekly Ministerial Press briefing, the platform put in place by the Ministry of Information, Asaba to enable the chief executives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan administration to interact with the media by informing and educating them about their activities continued last Tuesday, February 21, 2012, with the Commissioner for Works, Chief Funkekeme Solomon taking his turn.
Indeed, the desire to hear him was high given the fact that he man’s one of the strategic ministries that is key to the delivery of one of the cardinal three-point agenda of the administration, infrastructure development, and in specific terms, the road infrastructure.
Sure enough, Governor Uduaghan has told any one that cares to listen that the goal of his administration is economic development of the state. Which he explained to mean a state that is economically developed, in such a way that it doesn’t have to depend on oil as is presently the case. The Governor also sincerely believes that for economic development to take place, there has to be some infrastructure, which should also be linked. ‘‘That linkage will ensure that the whole state is involved in economic development. And by so doing, it also helps us in our agenda because one of the goals of our administration is to ensure that the whole state is united economically, physically and spiritually,’’ Uduaghan once said.

Thus, the provision of roads infrastructure, no doubt stands out as an initiative that is aimed at speeding up the achievement of the economic development vision of the administration. This is because the success of all other objectives of the administration’s three-point agenda, is almost inevitably hinged on the extent to which road infrastructures are made available. Roads connect the various communities, towns and cities, opening them up for commercial activities that also herald other economic developmental endeavours. Like wise, the value of every other initiative in the administration’s development agenda will be more meaningful and valued when such can be accessed easily by the people. A school, university, polytechnic, hospital, health centre, market, stadium, farming community, recreation facility, communities with tourism potential, etc that cannot be accessed by reason of lack of good road cannot benefit the people, while their economic development potential will remain only as a pipe dream. Besides, the presence of a road can be a major incentive, and bait for an investor to want to come and take advantage of business potentials in a community, city or state. Even the laudable Asaba-Ughelli dual carriage way, and the Koko-Ugbenu road, etc will require being connected to towns and villages through feeder roads if they do not exist.
Chief Solomon, during the briefing took his audience on excursion into what the responsibilities and functions of the Ministry of Works are. The Ministry is responsible for all public works including:
• Construction and maintenance of state government roads, bridges and drains;
• Airport development;
• Explosives;
• Construction and maintenance of sewage and drainage channels;
• Consultancy and supervision of civil engineering projects of other MDAs;
• Liaising with Federal Government and MDAs on civil engineering and other related matters.
These functions are carried out under the mission statement that states: ‘‘ To build a well planned, integrated and sustainable road transport network with effective linkages to other modes to facilitate socio-economic transformation and development.
According to Solomon, the policy target of the Ministry includes:
• To increase the length of all weather roads in the State from the estimated current level of 2,550 km to a minimum target total functional road length of 5,000 km through the construction of new roads and maintenance/rehabilitation of existing roads;
• Incorporate optimal drainage system in road construction projects;
• Acquire hydrological data;
• Implement fully environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) law for major road construction projects in order to protect the environment or mitigate environmental damage as specified by the EIA law of the Federal Government.
• Transformation of urban centres through the provision of good road network that will enhance effective flow of traffic;
• Provision of access roads in rural areas to ensure socio-political and economic development;
• Integration of remote, rural and riverine communities to urban centres through the construction of roads and bridges;
• Provision of effective drainage systems that will protect road networks and prevent flooding;
• Effective maintenance of road network, bridges, culverts, and drainages;
• Provision of riverine and coastal protection works against flooding and erosion;
• Partnering with other ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the execution of civil engineering projects.
Giving an overview of the project status of the Ministry in line with the infrastructural development aspect of the state government’s three-point agenda, the ministry has from May 2007, Solomon announced that the government awarded 252 inter/intra city and rural road contract projects at a total cost of over N114 billion, and awarded 58 drainage contract projects at a total cost of over N1.7billion. Among the projects involving construction/reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance of a number of trunk roads, rural access roads and township roads that dot the state includes:
i) The dualisation of Ughelli-Asaba mega road project, which is 148.9 km long. It was awarded in three sectors on November 14,2008 to three contractors at a total cost of N44.7billion. ‘‘It is amajor trunk road and vital link between the Effurun/Port Harcourt (East-West) road and Benin/Asaba dual carriage way. It is now one of the special projects under the Directorate of Special Infrastrcture with technical support from the Ministry,’’ Chief Solomon said.
ii) The dualisation of the 33 kilometres longUgbenu-Koko contract was awarded at a cost of N11.2billion to link Koko to the Benin-Warri dual carriage way. On completion, the road is expected to enhance free movement of goods and services to and from the Koko Port and the proposed Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Koko. It will also provide improved access to the on-going Koko-Ogbeye Road, and to the proposed coastal road project from Calabar to Lagos.
iii) Dualisation of the Effurun-Osubi-Eku Road project contract was awarded to three contractors at a taotal cost of N10.3billion. The road links the Effurun-Port Harcourt Federal dual carriage way and terminates at Eku on the Amukpe/Agbor/Uromi Federal highway. It provides access to the Koko and Warri Ports, Warri Refinery and Delta Steel Plant, Aladja.
iv) Dualisation of the 7.2 km Ughelli Arterial Road project to improve traffic flow in the Ughelli metropolis.Both ends of the connect the Effurun –Port Harcourt dual carriage way. The project, according to Chief Solomon, is estimated to cost over N6billion. He said work is on-going and at an advanced stage of completion.
v) Dualisation of Ajamimogha/Ekpan/Okere Road; Dualisation of Bowen /Odion Road; dualisation of Cemetery Road. These already completed 4.9 km road projects have a combined cost of N3.2billion. They will decongest traffic in Warri and environs.
vi) Dualisation of PTI/Jakpa Road. The aim of thi 9.6 km road is to improve traffic flow in and out of Warri/Effurun metropolis, as well as open up the Ekpan axis for development. It is an already completed project.
vii) Dualisation of the 9.5 km old Lagos-Asaba Road Agbor township arterial road being constructed at a cost of about N7billion. The road links Benin-Asaba highway at both ends at Agbor-Obi and Emuhu. It will check erosion on the arterial road, and improve socio-economic development of the town.
viii) Dualisation of Okumagba Avenue/Deco Road and Upper/Lower Erejuwa Roads, Warri. The two projects have a combined cost of N3.3billion. They will complement the completed/on-going network of dual carriage ways in Warri/Effurun/Udu metropolis and ease traffic flow. They have a high potential of enhancing socio-economic development of the area.
ix) Dualisation of the 6.4 km Refinery Road with spur on the NNPC Housing Estate Road to Ekpan roundabout, Effurun project. With a total cost of N3.3billion, it involves dualisation of Refinery Road and the link to Ekpan/Jakpa road intersection in Ekpan town. It will also improve traffic flow and link the PTI/Ekpan Road, Effurun/Sapele Road and NPA dual carriageways. It will complement other dual carriage ways in the metropolis.
x) There also the N5.37 billion project for the maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Asaba township roads. The project will renew the major road infrastructure in the state capital, Asaba. The project involes the resurfacing of the Nnebisi Road/Dennis Osadebey Way, dualisation of Ezenei Avenue, and the widening of DLA and old Anwai Roads. It will also involve the construction and maintenance of drains and pedestrian walk ways, construction of lay-byes on Summit Road and channelization of Summit junction as well as construction of feeder roads around Ekumeku roundabout.
xi) Dualisation of the 2.6 km link road from Benin/Warri Road to Jesse town. It is an arterial road in Jesse town awarded at the cost of about N1billion. Work is on-going and in fact nearing completion.
xii) Extension of State Secretariat Road to Asaba-Benin Expressway (Maryam Ndudi Babangida way). According to the Commissioner for Works, contract for the dualisation of this 1.9 km road that connects the Benin-Asaba highway and Okpanam Road in Asaba was awarded in December 2009 at the cost of over N300million. On this road are the State Government Secretariat and the Central Bank of Nigeria building.
xiii) Work on the dualisation of the Government House Road, Asaba, though on-going, is now at advanced stage. Contract for it was awarded in December 2009 at the cost of N500million. It is a major link between Anwai and Okpanam Roads in Asaba.
xiv) The Sapele /Abigborodo/Arowon 11.3 km Road project, which is costing over N6billion will open up the agrarian communities on the route so that their nfarm produce , and other products get to the markets on time. Solomon said: ‘‘It is aimed at rural integration. This is one of the projects under the Directorate of Special Infrastructure but with technical support of the Ministry,’’
xv) The 3.3 km Koko/Uba-Egbelemeji Road project was awarded in September 2008 at a cost of N397million. The Commissioner describes it as one of the link roads designed to open rural communities and provide quick access to their products. It is specifically targeted at the enormous imber and forest resources on the Benin-Ossiomo River.
xvi) Gberegolor/Ogriagbene Road. Chief Funkekeme Solomon said this 20 km road project was awarded in April 2007 at a cost of N7billion. He described it as an important link between Gberegolor in Ughelli South LGA, and Ogriagbene in Bomadi LGA. According to him, the project which had undergone site clearance and substantial earthfill with sharp sand has now been taken over by the Ministry of Niger Delta Development for completion.
xvii)The Issele-uku/Onicha-uku/Ugbodu/Okwunzu/Obomkpa/Idumu-Ogo/Issele-uku Road is a33 km ring road project which begins and ends at Issele-uku is estimated to cost N1.7billion. The first phase (approximately 10km) has been commission, while work is on-going in the remaining section. On completion the road is expected to facilitate movement of agricultural produce from the area.
xviii) Okpare-OlomuBridge and access road is a 120 meter span reinforced concrete bridge and 2.7 km access roads at both ends awarded at a cost of N1.7billion in 2006to link communities in Ughelli North and South Local Government Areas. It is also to provide an alternate route to the East-West road for people travelling to Warri from Port Harcourt. It has been completed and commissioned.
xix) The reconstruction of Agbarho/Okan junction/Effurun/Eku Road junction with two reinforced concrete bridges is a 1.0km long road with two 60m-span bridges, and three numbers triple cell box culverts. It is a short link between Okpe and UghelliNorth Local Government Areas. According to Chief Solomon this project which cost N1.2billion was commissioned in May 2010.
xx) The Trans Warri/Ode –Itsekiri Roads and Bridges is a road with 24 bridges, and several connecting routes to the main Ubeji/Ode –Itsekiri road. It measures about 24 km, and runs over rivulets and rivers. It is aimed at opening up the vast swampy coastal area, provide access o many riverine communities on the axis and bring development closer to the people. He project is estimated to cost over N27billion.
xxi) There is also the Ubafan/Inikorogha/Azama/New Jerusalem/Zion/Oporoza/Opedebuodo/Okpele-Ama/Ikpokpo/Madangho Road, and the Okerenkoko/Pepe-Ama/kokodiagbeneRoad. Work on these projects which run through difficult swampy mangrove terrain, and in which substantial earthfill was achieved before the projects suffered setback caused by the crises at Okerenkoko in 2010, will resume soon after re-appraisal of the projects.
xxii) The Aradhe-Ushie 13 km road project was awarded on 8th July,2010 at a cost of N1,520,607,348.93 will provide a short link to Ushie, Ashaka and to Igbuku and Aboh and environs. ‘‘It is now at advanced stages of completion,’’ Chief Solomon said.
xxiii) The challenging 6.05 km Asaba-Ase/Abari Road terrain awarded at a cost of N602 million, will provide a link and open up Asaba-Ase and Abari to the rest of Delta State. The commissioner said the Ministry of works is desirous of completing the road despite challenges posed by the terrain.
The Commissioner for Works also announced that there are newly awarded on-going and proposed projects. They include:
xxiv) Access road to Umeh community. This is a 7.5 km access road through swampy and daunting terrain to the adjourning Effurun-Port Harcourt Federal Road. It was awarded at the cost of N3.6 billion to open up the agrarian community by providing access to its rich agricultural and aquatic products.
xxv) Government also undertook the maintenance of roads in the Warri/Effurun/Udu metropolis as part of its plan to upgrade the road infrastructure in the area. The Commissioner said contracts were recently awarded for the construction of the Willie Street, Warri and Izakpa Street, Effurun. More roads are in the process of award to complement and link the roads being dualized.
xxvi)Widening/Rehabilitation/Dualization of Enerhen/Udu Road, which Chief Solomon described as a strategic link and alternative entrance toWarri/Effurun is said to be even more important with the completion of Olomu Bridge. Contract for the 4.8 km road was awarded at a cost of N960million to ease the growing traffic on this axis of the metropolis and to remove the one-way traffic imposed on Enerhen Road.
xxvii) Construction of Asaba Urban Drainage Project (Phase I & IV) Core Area, Asaba on which work is on-going is being supervised by the Ministry of Works. It was awarded in September 2009 by the Ministry of Environment at a cost of over N3.3billion.
xxviii) Construction of Drain to route flood water from front A Division and Ezeugboma Street, Asaba was awarded at a cost of N104million. Work is still on-going.
xxix) Flood and erosion control measures at Jesus Saves Basin, Asaba is a project awarded at a cost of N400million to deflood Jesus Saves/DLA Road flood basin. The Commissioner announced that the project has commenced but now awaiting removal of obstructing structures.
xxx) Omadino Bridge bye-pass to link Warri-Sapele Express way is a 14 km long road awarded in December 2011 at the cost of N6billion. The road bye-passes the existing narrow, and seriously constrained road through Ughoton and Jeddo towns. It will link the 460m long Omadino bridge also built by the Delta State Government. It will connect the remote riverine hinterland areas. The project is in line with the policy of the Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration on rural integration.
xxxi) Udu-Egini-NEPA (Ekakpamre) Road is a 10.65 km road project to be rehabilitated and re-sealed at a cost of N1.3billion. It will improve access to the Out-Jeremi and Udu areas of the state. Besides, it provides an alternative road between Ughelli/Isiokolo axis and Jeremi/Udu/Effurun/Warri axis.
xxxii) Egbo-Ayakoromor Bridge is a major bridge designed which design has been completed, will be awarded this year at a cost of over N9billion. It will create access to the remote areas of Ayakoromor overside.
xxxiii) Eku Bridge is a proposed project across River Ethiope at Eku. It is expected to prvide access to the parts of the state on the other side of Ethiope River and link up the Jesse area in the long run.
xxxiv) Airport development. The State government has embarked on airport development in the state. The airports include: the Asaba International Airport now operational with daily scheduled local flights, and an international airport at Osubi to complement the existing Osubi Airport.