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New bridge collapses in Rivers, residents criticise contractor

A part of a bridge at the Eleme section of the East-West Road in Rivers State leading into Isiokpo, in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, collapsed on Thursday.

It was gathered that the newly constructed bridge carved in about two months ago while other parts of the bridge were gradually caving in and might cut the road into two.

Vigilantes had reportedly condoned off the bridge in order to prevent vehicles from passing through it.

According to PUNCH, residents were seen walking across the safer section of the failed bridge to board cabs and buses to their respective destinations.

Some of the residents, who spoke randomly said the bridge was not properly constructed by the company that handled the project.

“They (the contractor) didn’t cast the bridge well. It was ordinary sand that they poured there. Whenever water is flowing, it bounces on that side. They should come back and see what they did.

“If it is something they can use their hands to repair, they should please do it fast,” a middle-aged man said.

Another resident said, “People in this area are cut off now. It is obvious that the bridge was not properly constructed.

“We are begging the government to come and look at it because this is the only road we take to our communities.”

A trader, who identified herself only as Ihuoma, said, “You can see that I am going to Omagwa with my luggage. Assuming the road was okay, I would have gone directly.

“We usually pay N50 to pass this area, but because of what has happened, we are now paying N100 because commercial drivers are diverting. Let the governor come and help us.”

The paramount ruler of Isiokpo Kingdom, Blessing Nwago, decried the condition of the bridge.

He said, “Thank God nobody has died, otherwise, it would have been a different story. I am not an engineer, but the bridge has failed; it has cut Isiopku off. We can’t go to Port Harcourt as it is now. We need government’s assistance now. Let them come to our aid.”

A senior official in the Rivers State Ministry of Works said rehabilitation work had started on the bridge.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that the slabs of the old bridge demolished to construct the new one were preventing proper flow of water from underneath the bridge and washing away the soil.

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