Gridlock as bridge collapses in Enugu

* Gov Mbah urges FG to concession roads to states

The bridge between New Artisan flyover and the NNPC Mega Station along the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway. Enugu has collapsed.

The collapsed bridge situated Naira Triangle and Goshen Flyover, at New Artisan Market, in Enugu state capital collapsed around 12 noon, according to residents.

It was gathered that there was no casualty due to the fact that there was no normal heavy traffic due to the Mondays sit-at-home in the state.

Our correspondent who visited the scene of the incident, observed that a small lorry conveying goods which was on the bridge when the incident occurred was affected.

The collapse of the bridge, it was further observed, led to to security agencies closing the remaining lane of the Enugu – Port Harcourt dual-carriage way.

The development has led to unusual traffic jam within the city as motorists have been forced to detour to Nza through New Haven, or Ogui Road to their various destinations

One of the residents, who mentioned his name as Gimba Abdul, told our correspondent that the collapse resulted from neglect.

According to him, “It was around 12 noon. I was here preparing my suya. Suddenly, we heard a loud bang and it happened that the bridge has collapsed. 

“We noticed this defect for over a year now and our leaders have been reaching out to the government for repair. 

“But, they would come and just take pictures of the defective bridge. They have come here more than 10 times but no action was taken to avert the danger. Thank God that no life was affected”.

Security operatives, officials of the Federal and Enugu State Ministries of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were sighted within the area to access the situation as well as to assist the road users plying the alternative routes.

Meanwhile, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, who visited the scene of the collapsed bridge, called for a new road maintenance model to guarantee a better condition and longevity of Nigerian roads, regretting that the current model had failed woefully.

Fielding questions from newsmen at the scene of the disaster, Mbah who thanked God that no life was lost despite the magnitude of the incident, urged the federal government to consider a concession of all the federal roads in each state to the state governments for proper maintenance in conjunction with the private sector.

“I think the question should be whether the current model of federal road maintenance is working or not; and I think that is the bigger question that we must ask.

“Today, we are here witnessing a tragedy that has just occurred. We are fortunate enough that no life was lost, but this could have been prevented entirely. So, the people can no longer ply this route because of this tragedy. This shows clearly that we do not have a sound federal road maintenance model.

“The bridge collapse didn’t just happen. These threats could have been identified if we had routine or regular maintenance.

“Perhaps the way to go is to find a way to concession these roads to the states. The states need to take charge of the roads within their domains and there has to be a conversation around the funding models”.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Gerald Otiji, government has advised commuters to use Nza Street through New Haven or ply Ogui Road and Abakaliki Road to their various destinations, while the authorities come up with measures for immediate repair on the failed section of the bridge.

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