What You Need to Know About The Bonny-Bodo Bridges And Road Project

  1. The Bonny-Bodo Bridges and Road is a 39km road project to connect the Island of Bonny to the Ogoni community of Bodo, on the Rivers State Mainland. It runs across 4 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Rivers State.

2a. The Bridge project was first conceived around 1978, more than 40 years ago.

2b. The Contract has been awarded a total of 4 times – the first three times, pre-Buhari, failed. The last one that failed was a 2002 contract award to Gitto Construction. When I visited the site in January 2019, I saw the concrete relic of the Gitto attempt, a short bridge-to-nowhere, abandoned and unusable. I was told by the new contractors, Julius Berger, that it would eventually have to be demolished.

2c. A Federal House of Representatives Motion in January 2012 noted, very unhappily, that “the project, right from its inception in 2002, with an initial completion date in December 2007 and extended to December 2007 and later extended to December 2008 and further to December 2009 has achieved less than 12% in terms of completion, despite an initial mobilization fee of Ten Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty Three Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Three Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty One Naira Twenty-Six Kobo (N10,463,233,981.26) to the contractor which is over 43% of the total contract sum…”

  1. Finally, it was awarded again in 2017, as part of President Buhari’s ‘New Vision for the Niger Delta’ Initiative, and Vice President Osinbajo flagged-off construction on behalf of President Buhari, on October 12, 2017.

3b. On that occasion the VP said: “This road, during construction, will create jobs directly for engineers, artisans, and labourers, and indirectly for food vendors and suppliers, transporters, quarry operators and so many others in the construction value chain. Upon completion, the project will permanently transform the lives of tens of thousands of Nigerian citizens in and around Bonny Island. It will alleviate the hardship faced by commuters along the Bonny-Bodo axis; facilitate the operations of the NLNG, and bring significant benefit to the lives of farmers, traders, schoolchildren and travellers.”

  1. The project comprises of three main bridges, across the Afa Creek (530m), Nanabie Creek (640m), and Opobo Channel (750m) respectively, and 10 mini-bridges, that will complement the main bridges. Together all the bridges total about 2km in length. The rest of the 39km project will consist of asphalt highway on both ends.

4b. According to the contractor, Julius Berger, “the road is a massive undertaking with many construction challenges due to the low lying marshy area, muddy and swampy soil conditions and considerable tidal movements.”

  1. To guarantee funding (the bane of these large-scale, multi-year infrastructure projects), it is one of the projects included in the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, aka Executive Order 7 (EO7), which President Buhari signed into law in January 2019.
  2. The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), owners of an Oil and Gas Export Terminal on Bonny Island, is the private sector partner of the construction, under EO7 (NLNG is financing 50 percent of the total cost). The new engineering contractor is Julius Berger. (So in essence the three partners on this project are the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), NLNG and Julius Berger).
  3. On Wednesday July 7, 2021, the Federal Executive Council approved a revision in the contract sum, from 120.6 Billion Naira, to 199.923 Billion Naira. According to the Minister, the revision was necessary for two reasons:
    a. The previous estimate was based on 2002 prices – 2002 being when it was last awarded.
    b. Some revisions have been made to the project scope and design. For example, additional mini-bridges have had to be included in the scope, to bypass oil and gas pipelines that have been discovered in the course of the construction; instead of having to relocate pipelines, which is a far more difficult and expensive venture.
  4. So, that’s 200 Billion Naira of new infrastructure investment going into Rivers State, to link Bonny Island (a major Nigerian oil and gas hub) by road to the Mainland.
  5. Bonny has also recently seen FID and flag-off of construction on the NLNG’s Train 7 project, a $10 billion investment that will deliver a 7th production Train and increase the NLNG’s capacity by 35 percent.
  6. Project Update: See this Press Release by Julius Berger in June 2021:

Excerpt: “Notwithstanding these [technical] challenges, Julius Berger has successfully completed, and to standard, two major scope components of the project on schedule, namely, the 4.9km Bodo Road and the Afa Creek Bridge which it connects.”

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