BY SUNNY A. DAVID
The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Anambra State, Mr. Adeoye Irelewuyi has cleared the air about why articulated vehicles were prevented from plying the Second Niger Bridge.
The Second Niger Bridge was temporarily opened for the use of motorists from midnight of Thursday 15th December 2022 to 15th January 2023 to ease traffic flow especially those coming from the West to East this Christmas and New Year season.
But speaking with our correspondent in Awka, Corps Commander Irelewuyi said articulated vehicles are not allowed to use Second Niger Bridge not because of any defect with the bridge but because of narrow and muddy nature of the access road leading to the bridge.
“It is true that articulated vehicles are not allowed to use a bridge, not because of any defect or any problem with the bridge. It is the access road leading to the bridge. That is what is giving us concern.
“The second phase which is the link road from the bridge to Asaba, has not yet been completed. So what we are going to use a minor road that the construction company has been using that is waterlocked and very narrow.
“Any breakdown of articulated vehicle on that minor road, will completely block traffic in the area. So it is better for articulated vehicles not to use that minor road to access the bridge. The bridge is okay and has no problem,” he said.
The FRSC Boss assured that his command has mapped out strategic programmes to enhance serious traffic control as well as monitor compliance of road users’ adherence to the rules and regulations of the road ahead of increasing traffic this Christmas and New Year season.
“There is a pattern to the Second Niger Bridge. From 15th December to 1st January, that bridge will be opened for traffic coming from the West, Asaba, Benin; then from 2nd of January to 15th of January 2023, it will be opened to the back flow from the East to the West (those returning and going) so that the pressure won’t be too much.
“We have mapped out strategic areas on the two bridges on the Niger, Oye Agu junction Abagana and also holding the point between Awka town and Ihiala. We are trying to ensure that as much as possible, our people move around freely. Once we are able to reduce travel time and gridlock, it will curb over speeding.
“This is because when people had wasted time at a particular junction or point for hours, they try over speed in order to make up for lost time. But once you don’t lost time at all, then, there won’t be any need for you to over speed. That is our Target for this Yuletide,” he maintained.
Corps Commander Irelewuyi also said that his command is setting up three help areas to reduce intervention time in traffic situations at Owerri Road close to Metallurgical Training Institute Onitsha so that traffic coming down from Second Niger Bridge will be handled appropriately while second and third points will be mounted at Nteje and Immigration Junction Awka respectively to handle traffic situations within those areas.
He appealed to Ndi Anambra to be moderate in their celebration by quitting alcoholism while driving, cease driving under the influence of drugs and when tired or fatigue, should find a safe place, pack and rest so as to arrive alive.
Already, over 1000 FRSC personnel and Special Marshals have been deployed in strategic places in Anambra State to ensure zero crashes this Yuletide.