The Federal Government has assured commuters and road users of timely completion of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene highway by the present administration.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang, said this during an inspection tour of the road on Wednesday.
Enang said that with the recent release of N600 billion tax credit from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the construction of 21 roads across the country, Calabar-Itu-Ikot Epee is scheduled for dualisation accordingly.
He said that the federal government has awarded contracts for the dualisation of the road to three construction companies to ensure prompt delivery.
According to him, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) was awarded from Mbak Obio Itam in Itu LGA to Ibiakpan junction in Ikot Ekpene, Julius Berger would take from Mbak Obio Itam to Oku Iboku in Itu LGA while SERMATECH Nig. Ltd would construct from Oku Iboku to Power plant in Odukpani in Cross River State.
The Presidential Aide commended the construction company, SERMATECH for being at the site during this yuletide season to ensure the road was made passable before actual dualisation.
He called on youths and all indigenes of the communities within the construction areas to cooperate with the construction companies to ensure prompt completion of the job.
He assured that with the release of the funds, users of the road would reduce travelling time from eight hours when the road was deplorable to two hours after dualisation.
“We want to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the efforts he made in securing special funds to be released for the dualisation of this road.
“As I said earlier, the totality of what we have on this road is about N185 billion, N79 billion to SERMATECH Nig. Ltd, N54 billion to Julius Berger and N52 billion to CCECC,” Enang said.
Speaking to newsmen, the SERMATECH Nig. Ltd. site engineering, Mr Joseph Akpata, said the company had been mobilised to site and construction work had commenced.
Akpata said they have been awarded the contract for full dualisation of about 28.6km which span from Oku Iboku to the Power plant in Odukpani in Cross River.
He said that SERMATECH has four different teams working on the road to achieve the desired target and complete the dualisation even before the contract time.
“Since the fund for dualisation of this road has been set aside, we have been mobilised to site and we are working from four different directions to meet and surpass our contract time.
“We have experts that will handle the bridges and we have mapped out plans to ensure that there will be free flow of traffic while construction is going on.
“Let me tell you that to ensure cordial relationships with the communities, we have employed 100 people from this area to work with us. We have good relationships with the communities, so there will be no disturbances to slow down the job.
“The contract time for this project was put at five years, but since the fund is available, we have reduced the contract time to two years. So, we are going to deliver by 2023,” Akpata said.
The Village Head of Ikot Ebiyak in Oku Iboku, Eteidung Efiok Ikotidem, while receiving the presidential aide team called on the construction company to water the road to reduce dust in the community.