There was serious traffic on Thursday along the vital Eleme section of the East – West Road when the heavy rain of Wednesday night washed off an end of the Aleto bridge near the Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited and cut off the use of one side of the dual carriageway.
It was the second time in four years that base of that bridge has been eroded. The erosion diverted traffic to the other lane of the road, which resulted in a logjam that held motorists for several hours.
The road links Port Harcourt with the heavy industrial and port zone in Eleme, Onne and the refineries. It is also the main route leading to Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. There is not yet a viable alternative to the road, which had for long been in want of reconstruction and expansion.
The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, had promised last year that the federal government would not only reconstruct that section of the road, but would also erect three flyovers at Akpajo, Refinery and Trailer Park junctions. People are still waiting for the manifestation of the pledge.
Many stranded passengers with their luggage were seen trekking several kilometres to beat the traffic jam and catch commercial buses and taxis at the other ends of the traffic.
The erosion around the bridge is caused by activities of sand miners who have widened the area of water around the short bridges. Though people had complained about the destructive activities of the sand miners, government had done very little to stop them.