Residents of Aharuru and Ezinifite communities of Orsu Local Government Area of Imo and Nnewi LGA of Anambra states respectively are heaving a sigh of relief after a big problem scuttling normal activities was solved for them.
The Urasi Bridge linking both communities had become an eyesore for the residents, as they struggled with their daily lives, especially in the areas of commerce and communication between both communities.
The Bridge was constructed back in the day by the Colonial masters and had been the bond between both communities until it got completely wrecked in May 2018 after a truck carrying cement got stuck on the bridge. The bridge soon got collapsed, halting every form of transportation – pedestrian or motorised on the bridge.
With the communities in distress, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Owerri Area Office got wind of the struggles of the community. The agency soon embarked on a site seeing tour of the interstate bridge to ascertain the level of wreckage and to quantify the amount of work that needed to be done to bring life back to both communities through the bridge.
Ths agency swung into action, analysed the best way to approach the situation and concluded that totally refurbishing the bridge with concrete will be the best bet for the people of the communities.
Residents revealed the hardship they faced due to the collapse of the bridge.
FERMA Owerri led by Engr. Chukwuemeka Maduagwu said the agency saw it as a legacy project and began the dismantling of the entire colonial bridge to construction a new bridge.
“We decided to fix the old bailey bridge, confronted it and fixed it,” he said.
“We removed it totally and constructed a new concrete bridge and to the glory of God and full support of Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi, we finished it. We started doing our preliminary works and now we have designed a reinforced concrete bridge for the community.”
Traditional rulers of both communities and their residents have showered encomiums on FERMA Owerri for restoring hope and life to their communities.
“The bridge is now motorable, in good condition and safe for use,” said the traditional ruler of Amaruru community, HRH Eze W.D Igwe Ozuomee.
Also hailing the efforts of the Agency was the traditional ruler of Ezinifite community, HRH Samuel Obika.
Adding to the commendations FERMA has received, Mr. Geoffrey Onuchukwu a prominent son of the Ezinifite community said he was very with the work that went into the bridge. He said being a professional in constructions himself, he could vouch for the standard of work there.
Inhabitants of both communities are now a happy people as they said the federal government and FERMA Owerri have listened to their cries for succour.
While the bridge is yet to be commissioned, Odumagwu, who oversaw the construction of the bridge said the people should own it and take responsibility for its maintenance. He said it should be seen as their own infrastructure.
According to Odumagwu, the Urasi Bridge can stand the test of time and will still be solid for 70 years. He said the bridge will be commissioned by the governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma to be supported by the MD/CEO of FERMA, Engr. Nurudeeen Rafindadi.
For residents of Aharuru and Ezinifite, joy has come in the morning, after a long, dark night.