By Jonathan Ugbal
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of NGN14.014 billion for the rehabilitation of the Odukpani – Akpet central section of the Calabar – Ikom – Katsina-Ala highway in Cross River State.
The total length of the distance to be rehabilitated is 73 kilometers and the project among others approved by the FEC, are expected to be ready in seven months.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told newsmen that the section of the highway completes the link from Calabar-Itu all the way to Ogoja – Gakem.
“If you have followed the development, we have Julius Berger on the Calabar-Itu section and Sermatech on the Ugep – Alesi section and PW on the Ikom – Mbok section and Wellstone on the Ogoja – Gakem section.
“So it was Odukpani to Akpet that had no contract. That is where you would have reported in the past that some petrol tanker trucks and stuff have been stuck.
“So that contract has been awarded and hopefully as we head into dry season, reconstruction work will start there and continue along the entire leg,” Fashola said.
Findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal that Julius Berger has since moved into site and has begun clearing works for its yard at Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom state for the Calabar – Itu contract.
Also, Sermatech is currently working on failed culverts at the Ugep in Yakurr local government area and Alesi in Ikom local government area section of the Calabar – Ikom – Katsina-Ala highway.
Meanwhile, PW could not be seen on site at the Ikom – Mbok section while Wellstone is said to be working at the Ogoja – Gakem in Bekwarra local government area section which residents say looks more like “a shoddy job.”
The approval came less than 24 hours after a truck conveying rods ran out of gas and broke down at Target Street by Nelson Mandela Street in Calabar, the Cross River State capital on Tuesday.
A resident told CrossRiverWatch that the incident occurred at about 7:00PM on Tuesday and happened at the same spot a truck carrying fuel crashed two years ago.
As at press time, the truck was still blocking the route with commuters forced to use alternative routes.