Christmas: Gridlock Persists On Asaba End To Niger Bridge

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Despite assurances of free flow of traffic to the South East during the yuletide, commuters from other parts of the country are presently having hectic experiences accessing the River Niger Bridge from the Asaba end.

Authorities had assured of a seamless relationship between all traffic-related agencies to ensure the free flow of traffic.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), army, police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA) had deployed officers on the troublesome corridor before the Christmas celebration.

DESTMA alone deployed over 700 officers.

But on Wednesday morning, vehicular traffic had stretched beyond the MTN office in Asaba on the expressway with the potential of extending further.

Our correspondent observed however that the traffic is on one side of the dual carriageway. The lane from Onitsha is absolutely free.

A commuter who travelled from Asaba during the early hours of the day to beat the envisaged traffic blamed the build-up on the checkpoint by the police at the ‘C’ Division which is a few meters away from the Head Bridge.

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The source who pleaded not to be named in print said that ‘as early as 5 am, the police have already mounted a checkpoint at the ‘C’ Division.

‘And gradually, traffic started building up because of what the police were doing. At about 8:30 am, I was already in Imo State but I was told that the traffic has already stretched beyond Abraka.’

When contacted for comment, the Director General of DESTMA, Ndubuisi Idah, blamed the situation on the increased number of vehicles going to the eastern part of the country during the yuletide.

Idah who is the coordinator of the inter-agency traffic management team told our correspondent that there was a steady flow of traffic along the ageing Niger Bridge.

‘The issue is that it is moving, traffic is moving freely at the bridge. We have a backlog because of the increased number of vehicles this period.

‘This is the period when most of brothers and sisters from the East come home to take chieftaincy titles and be part of one communal celebration or the other.

‘There is a steady traffic flow of traffic at the Bridge Head. But it will take some time for the traffic to completely thin out,’ he said.