Cross River Works Commissioner Assures on Completion of Rural-Urban Roads

In Breaking News, Interviews, National News, Politics, Reports

by crossriverwatch admin

Legor Idagbo
Legor Idagbo

The Commissioner of Works Cross River State, Mr. Legor Idagbo in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch has promised that all projects handled by his ministry will be completed before this administration exits office.

Excerpts:

Regarding the work you are doing in your ministry which is basically construction, Cross Riverians will want to know what is happening to the Bebi airstrip at the Obudu ranch. When Mr. Labaran Maku came for the good governance tour in Cross River, at the ranch, the people in charge promised Cross Riverians that flights were going to return to the ranch by May 2013, its about one year after, no news from there, what is the situation with the project?

The Bebi airstrip is not directly under my purview but I do know that the airstrip needed some new and improved equipment such as the Instrument Landing System that had issues such that initially, aircrafts that came in had to find their way using maps but I thank God that the leader of this administration Senator Liyel Imoke has spent a lot of money there to ensure that state of the art facilities are acquired and are being installed there, any moment from now the airstrip will be up and working.

Recently I was with the consultant that handles the airstrip project and he disclosed confidently to me
that soon there will be a formal opening ceremony where some aircrafts will land just to commemorate the occasion. What we hope to see is that there will be commercial flights fully using the airstrip where direct flights could take off and land from Lagos, Abuja and even international flights. Which will lead to at least cheaper cost of travel and will ease the traffic from the already over stretched Margaret Ekpo International airport and that of Makurdi, Benue State. The advantages are enormous. It’s a laudable and legacy project, its advantages cannot be over emphasized because when completed the pressure on our roads in the major city center will greatly reduce.

The Calabar fly over bridge, what is the estimated cost, what is the period of completion, it’s a good initiative but work seem to be going on very slowly. What is government doing about it?

Most of our traffic gridlock in our city center like I said is from outside the town and some of these people don’t have any business in town but just passing by, for instance, for you to access the airport from anywhere you must pass through the city center which is not right. This necessitates the idea of the by-pass. You can call it the first interchange bridge or flyover in Calabar which will give rise to others.The estimated cost of the project is about 6.4 billion naira, it’s a 12km road because it’s 6km on the right and same in the other side. The road should be delivered before the end of this year 2014.

Tell us about your urban renewal program and what Cross Riverians should expect before this administration leaves office, it is going to be abandoned projects?

In our Urban renewal programs recently we started the Obudu-Obanliku program and in this program Obudu is 95% completed, in Ogoja we just started the road marking, in Ikom there is still some finishing touch to do, in Ugep we’ve finished almost all the roads but we had to suspend the Urban renewal programs to face the Institute of Technology and Management which we have finished the internal roads. For the Calabar Urban renewal programs we have finished the lot one and lot two is near finishing, I want to say authoritatively that before the year runs out we will hand over the Urban renewal program roads.

How about the Rural Areas since Cross River State is predominantly rural?

Cross River Rural Assess and Mobility Project, CR RAMP is a rural access project that we are executing in partnership with the Africa Development Bank, ADB. We have constructed 474 km of roads. We are taking these roads to the rural areas to create a strong transportation channel linking the interior villages with the towns. We recently started supervision and most of the places we visited we could see that they have started using the roads even when they are not complete, they move their local produce direct from the farms to the markets easily which was not so before, trucks now can even access the roads. For the CR RAMP Project, we are about 65% complete and soon will be completed and handed over. Some have been completed though there are some very difficult areas we had to take extra time and care to tackle. By middle next year the roads will be completed.

There’s the issue of durability of the projects your ministry is handling, very soon this administration will be winding down and most of these roads that were done during your time in office are already going bad, how do you feel about that?

The durability and maintenance of our roads which has led to it being what it is today is because there was no immediate maintenance plan or component put in place. Ideally if the maintenance structure for the roads was available immediately there is a crack, it will be fixed and the cost of repairing it will be low because there is a team kept aside for that purpose which would have sprang into action. What makes it expensive is when the road is left to spoil to an unusable stage. The various companies with heavy duty trucks especially in Akamkpa LGA where quarry activities take place, we have been able to get them to contribute stone base which they have done and we are using that to continue to maintain the roads in our efforts to ensure they remain motorable. Don’t also forget that when these roads were built, the anticipated traffic and tonnage was suitable for their location but today because of the unmotorable federal roads in the state, most of the heavy tonnage trucks are now using these rural roads that were not built to carry that kind of tonnage thereby leading to their early damage, that is why we are now involving those companies in the maintenance structure of the rural roads.”

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