Julius Berger Commences Dualization Of Calabar – Itu Road -As Senator Ita Enang lists federal government’s achievements in Akwa Ibom
By Ofonime Honesty
Construction work has commenced on the Calabar – Itu Road, this reporter can authoritatively divulge.
Julius Berger, the construction firm handling the project, has confirmed receipt of the first tranche of funds earmarked for the contract, and has since commenced work.
Heavy duty equipment were on ground even as hordes of workers were seen at work when newsmen went on an on-the-spot assessment of the project.
Speaking with newsmen, the regional manager of the construction firm, Yohan Fisher, promised to deliver the project in 28 months, saying the company had to first fix failed portions of the road to enable free flow of traffic even as the dualization progresses.
“We’ve started from the Akwa Ibom side – the site installation and mobilization is ongoing. Very soon, we would start with the Calabar side where we have two bridges: one has to be reconditioned, one has to be renewed, our structural engineers would be here next week.
“Dualization is always a challenge, we have structural challenges with the bridges, there is always a challenge of getting land on the left and right side of the road. We’ve worked on fixing the failed sections too”, Fisher explained.
Addressing newsmen, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Distinguished Senator Ita Enang, reiterated that the project shall be completed in no distant time, and revealed that the presidency has released additional 11 billion Naira for outstanding sections of the road yet to be awarded in addition to the first tranche of 5 billion Naira paid to Julius Berger.
He explained how the project was delayed from 2016 when it was first budgeted for.
“In 2016, we budgeted 6bn Naira on that road, the president directed dualization but some officials of the Federal Ministry of Works advertised construction of one lane and attempted to procure funds for commencement of work, I said ‘no’, we stopped it and by the time we finished the process, the year had elapsed.
“In 2017, we budgeted for dualization again but they went and started at Tinapa point and got to T-junction at Odukpani and passed on to Akamkpa to Okut Ikang, we had to stop it because the great part of that road would have been in Cross River State, they would have been no part of it in Akwa Ibom State. We had to rework it. Before we succeeded doing that, it was late, the financial year elapsed and the funds wasn’t utilized”, he narrated.
He commended the federal government for accepting the inclusion of the project in the 2018 budget.
Enumerating the achievements of the Buhari led administration in the state, the presidential aide noted that the incumbent federal government has been benevolent to Akwa Ibom people.
“Since 1999, this is the first administration that has given opportunities to Akwa Ibom people, greatest number of appointments to Akwa Ibom people. We have the Calabar- Itu Road which is currently dualized, there is the Housing Scheme in Uyo, we have Social Investment schemes like the school feeding programme. Now, let me tell you, if you go to Eket, Nsit Ibom, you would see federal roads we are doing. Go to Ikot Ekpene, you would see the federal road from Ikot Ekpene to Umuahia, Ikot Ekpene to Aba, the contractors are there.
“In fact, the entire money that comes into Akwa Ibom are monies from the federal government. NDDC is a federal agency which has delivered a hundred percent more than the state government has performed in terms of infrastructures and projects”, Senator Enang stated.
Interacting with newsmen, Representative of the Federal Ministry of Works, Engr Amos Duke, and the liaison officer, Mr. Ofonime Otu, expressed confidence that the dualization will be a success.
A cross section of Ibiono Ibom and Itu residents equally commended the federal government for initiating the project.