The Federal Government has directed a team of experts to conduct a critical analysis of the design of Section V of the East-West Road Project before commencing work on it.
The Minister for the Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
He explained that the Section V of the project “is from Oron to Calabar”.
Usani said that the team, comprising experts in the ministry, the project consultants, representatives of Akwa Ibom and Cross River state governments, was expected to conclude the analysis within three weeks.
He said that the team was expected to analyse existing design of the 23km Section V portion of the road and to consider alternative designs for alignment for cost efficiency.
According to him, the 23 km is added to the 338km East-West dual-carriage way road, which is originally billed to terminate in Oron, Akwa Ibom, will now extend to Calabar.
Usani said that the Federal Government had, therefore, ordered the experts to ensure completion of the analysis before the commencement of work on the road.
He noted the view that there should be a re-design of the road project to minimise destruction of the cultural heritage of the people.
“There was divergence of opinion as regards the present road design of Section V of the East West Road, Oron to Calabar.
“The ministry could not afford any further delay in delivering the project to the end-users given its inherent benefits to the people.
“My interest is the success of this administration in projects delivery,” he said.
According to Usani, the Federal Government is committed to carrying them along in project execution in the Niger Delta region.
“Let me reassure you that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will ensure that host communities and end-users were carried along in projects execution for the maximum benefits of all,” he said.
The minister said that the ministry would try hard to look at all possible options and choose the cost effective ones in executing the project to a logical conclusion within the current constraints of cash flow.
In addition to budgetary provisions and funds from African Development Bank (AfDB) toward the completion of the road in 2014, the Federal Government facilitated an additional loan from the China Exim-Bank.
The Oron-Calabar road is the final section of the East-West road known as ‘Section V’.
The road was targeted to be completed in the first quarter of 2015 with the construction in phases.
A part of the phase was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in 2013 at the total sum of N165 billion which included almost 26km of bridge and deck-on-piles.