Work on the proposed N100 billion Second Niger Bridge is to commence next month.
Already, ministry officials said that preparations were in top gear for President Goodluck Jonathan to perform the ground-breaking ceremony on March 15, for work by the concessionaire, Messrs Julius Berger and AIIM to start.
Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen had hinted that the Federal Government had begun negotiations with contractors handling the construction of the second Niger Bridge at Onitsha, Anambra State, with a view to securing a reduction in the cost of the project.
Onolememen said the negotiations for reduction in the cost of the bridge arose from the fact that the exact
figures for building the bridge were now known.
According to the initial contract terms, the contractor, Julius Berger along with its partner in the consortium, are to invest N100 billion. The Federal Government is also to contribute 30 percent in equity that would come from money sourced from the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P.
“The second Niger Bridge has now been fully designed. Now that the figures are known, we are negotiating it downwards on the basis of our own objectives and financial plans, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance. We will soon do the ground breaking,”Onolememen told reporters in Abuja.
Ministry officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, yesterday, however, said Julius Berger had earlier mobilised equipment to the site in July last year for preliminary work to commence, pending the conclusion of the negotiations.
According to them, the new bridge and its approach road are estimated at 12.4 kilometres, with the bridge alone having a length of 1.8 kilometres.
BY EMEKA MAMAH