Reynolds Construction Company Limited (RCC), the contractor awarded the reconstruction of the 18-kilometre Eleme axis of the East-Road has started palliative works on that section of the road.
The company had deployed equipment and men on the road during the week after its workers were seen with survey equipment on the road a week before and have leveled a substantial part for the road from Aleto Bridge to Trailer to enable.
Though it could not be confirmed when the actual reconstruction of the road would start, the Minister of Works, Mr. Raji Fashola, had in October said the reconstruction would begin in December.
The affected section of the road is the gateway to Nigeria’s second largest port complex at Onne and a number of heavy industries like Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Complex, Port Harcourt Refinery, Notore Fertiliser industry and scores of other maritime and hydrocarbon companies.
But the road has been in a deplorable shape for many years, forcing the local communities in 2021 to block the road for more than one week to demand its reconstruction.
Last week, the Governor of Rivers State, Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, flagged off the construction of the 10.3-kilometre Indorama – Agbonchia – Ogale – Ebubu – Onne road in Eleme Local Government Area for the evacuation of products from the Indorama complex to the Onne ports.
During the ceremony, which was celebrated by former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, Wike said his administration was deliberately creating new roads through Eleme towns to free traffic from the East/West road to Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone and the port complex. The other roads are the Woji-Aleto-Alesa Road and Alode-Onne Road. The flag-off of the Alode – Onne road was done by former Cross River State Governor, Mr. Donald Duke.
Wike said Eleme serves as the economic hub of Rivers State and everything would be done to attract more investors while encouraging already existing ones.
But he said he was hopeful that the federal government would wake up to its responsibility by rehabilitating the deplorable East/ West Road.
“This is the economic hub of the State. Therefore, everything must be done to make sure more economic activities are attracted here. Opening all these roads will of course give the companies the hope that one day the Federal Government will remember the East West Road.”
Performing the flag-off, former governor of Cross River, Donald Duke noted that despite the heightening political activities, governor Wike has not abdicated governance.
Duke regretted that in Nigeria, critical roads to connect seaports to industrial companies are not constructed and maintained. Such bad culture, he pointed out, frustrates evacuation of goods to the market and for export, thereby making the country to lose massive revenue.
“Unfortunately, there’s a complete disregard for the critical sectors of our economy. That you cannot have ingress or egress out of Eleme is a sad thing to say. Ordinarily, this should be a national concern. You can’t cut your nose to spite your face. This is what Nigeria does all the time. Forget the politics, forget what party is leading. Forget who the governor is, but you get massive revenues from the investments that are in these areas and you ignore evacuation.”
Duke expressed optimism that with the massive investment in roads and other critical infrastructure in Rivers State, which ironically is not the richest in the country, it will soon emerge the industrial heartbeat of the nation.
Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr George-Kelly Alabo said the reconstruction of the 7. 2-kilometre long Alode-Onne Road and Alode internal roads are symbolic and are of serious economic importance to the State.
Dr. Alabo stated that the Alode-Onne Road which measures 7.2 kilometres long, 10.3 meters wide with drains of 900 by 900 millimetres depth of 150 millimetres wall thickness and 150 millimetres base thickness, will create alternative route from East/West to promote ease of doing business.
According to Dr. Alabo, the Alode Internal Roads are 11 in number, measuring 3kilometres in length, of 7.3meters wide with drains on both sides.
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