Jan 23rd
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East-West coastal road project back on track

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 By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt
HOPE for the construction of the proposed East-West coastal road, which stretches across 667.38 kilometres from Calabar to Lagos, has been rekindled with the submission of tender document to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The document for the multi-billion-naira road project was submitted to the NDDC by an indigenous engineering firm, Pearl Consultants, which was contracted to build the road.In a letter to the NDDC, the firm’s Chief Engineer, Nath Iboroma, said: “We presume international bidding for a job of this magnitude and complexity will take five to six months and so, it is not out of place to start the bidding process.”In preparing the bills, the road project was divided into 10 segments. The various segments are Odukpani (74.200 kilometres), Imo River (76.300 kilometres), River Sombreior (79.800 kilometres), Bonny River suspension bridge (7.700 kilometres), River Sombreiro Brass (81.900 kilometres), Brass (91.700 kilometres), cable stayed bridges at Forcados River and Escravos River (11.30 kilometres).It will be recalled that an international conference on the development of the Niger Delta in 2001 under the aegis of the NDDC and UNDP had emphasised the urgent need for the coastal road, which is a critical component of the Niger Delta regional master plan.Due to likely budgetary constraints and competing infrastructural facilities at both the federal and regional levels, Pearl Consultants had, prior to the submission of the tender documents, suggested it may be expedient to begin the construction of the road on a single carriageway that will open up the area to attract investments.It is expected that the proposed road would serve as a catalyst in the development of the region and unlocking the vast tourism potentials and opportunities in the area.The East-West Road, which is currently the southern road running through the Niger Delta, is about 40 kiliometres from the coastline, leaving a vast section of the region inaccessible by road transport.Based on the design, the East-West coastal road will serve as the shortest route linking Lagos to the coastal areas of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states and also connect the north and south vertical routes. 

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