The Ekpetiama-tombia bridge which was constructed by the federal government about 20 years ago during the administration of the first elected governor of Bayelsa state, late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha has currently parted into two and motorist now drive on woods to cross the damaged part of the bridge.
The bridge is presently serving communities in four local government areas of the state and it will be a disaster if the indigenes are forced to go back to the use of boats to access these communities. According to a motorist, he said; “The situation in the area is really disturbing. We know the suffering before now getting to communities along this axis when there was no bridge there.”
Prior to now, Bayelsan have called on the attention of the federal government earlier on and the Governor of the state, Governor Douye Diri, to save the lives of the community. Governor Diri had inspected the failed portions of the bridge on Tuesday 11th of January 2022 and directed an immediate stoppage of dredging activities on the river which didn’t stop but the dredgers only relocated to another part of the river.
He said “erosion caused by illegal dredging activities had affected the edges of the bridge and some of the joints resulting in noticeable gaps. We need to draw the federal government’s attention to this while we embark on immediate remedial work to prevent its collapse.
Diri also directed the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to embark on immediate remedial work on the damaged portions “I hereby direct the Commissioner for Environment to ensure stoppage of dredging activities on the river.
But as at few days ago, the equipment for the remedial work were seen and reconstruction was ongoing but at a slow phase. The slow progress of the work has become a concern to the people. Trips of sharp sand were seen and construction equipment were present at some parts of the bridge to fill the part of the bridge which was already parting into two for vehicles to pass through.
The people of Bayelsa continue to call on the federal government and the state government to speed up work on this bridge so as save them from the impending disaster.