By Friday Idachaba
Jamata (Kogi), Oct. 8, 2020 Repair works are on-going on the Murtala Bridge on the Lokoja-Abuja highway as part of Federal Government’s commitment to safety and free flow of traffic.
Director, Highways, Bridges and Design at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Emmanuel Adeoye, disclosed this on Thursday at Jamata, Kogi, during an on-the-spot assessment of repair work on the bridge.
The bridge was constructed by the military government of late Gen. Murtala Muhammed in 1976 to link the southern and northern parts of the country and to serve as an alternative to the Jebba Bridge in Kwara, which serves the same purpose.
The Murtala Bridge also links Kogi with the Federal Capital Territory.
Adeoye said that the on-going work being handled by an indigenous contractor, aims at addressing the wear and tear, especially attacks by aquatic animals on the reinforcements of the bridge.
He said that the major maintenance work began on May 11 and was expected to be completed by May 10, 2022, adding that work could not progress steadily due to COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that before the onset of the rains between May and June, the engineers did a lot of underwater engineering works to correct some defects before coming to the surface.
The director said that aquatic animals attack underwater reinforcements of the bridge, stressing that “and when they attack them like that, they eat off some concrete and expose the reinforcements’’.
On the pace of work, the director said that the contractor was making progress, adding: “before the rains came in May/June, it executed a lot of underwater works.
“Now, because the water has come up and it cannot do much of underwater works it is now working on the surface. When we get towards November, December again, it will continue with the underwater works.
“Looking at the duration which is supposed to be three years and looking at what it has done so far, I think it is still within the schedule.
“My immediate appeal to the public and road users is that they should be patient knowing that government is committed to the repairs of this bridge,’’ he said.
Adeoye urged motorists to obey instructions by the security agents on the highway to ensure free flow of traffic.
Representative of the contracting firm, Ebenezer Princewill, assured that the work would be delivered within the scheduled time frame.