Irked by the deplorable state of federal roads linking Niger state with other parts of the country, the state government is set to enact a law that will prohibit trucks and articulated vehicles conveying loads of over 35 tonnes from plying roads across the state.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed this yesterday during a fact finding inspection on the cause of the traffic gridlock on Minna/Suleja Road; a development that has rendered the road impassable with many travellers trapped for hours on the road due to its deplorable condition at various sections of the 98 kilometre road.
The Governor said the move to enact the law became necessary as a result of refusal of operators of heavy-duty vehicles and trucks plying roads in the state to keep to the recommended and approved weight carriage thereby mounting pressure and damaging roads across the state.
The governor also said weigh bridge houses will be constructed on strategic roads in the state to ensure strict compliance to the approved load carriage for trucks and articulated vehicles.
“I am in consultation with the state house of assembly. We are studying it. We are looking at it legally and we are considering passing a law that will prohibit trucks with loads beyond the 30-35 tonnes and those carrying petroleum products above 36,000 litres from passing any road within Niger state.
“Today on our roads we find trucks carrying 55,000 and I learnt some carry up to 60 to 70,000 litres of product on this road. The weight and pressure of these trucks are responsible for the damage on our roads.
“In the good old days we grew up to see weigh bridge houses on our roads. We are going to construct these weigh bridges on strategic roads in the state to ensure full compliance with the proposed law. We have to protect these roads from further damage.”
Gov. Sani Bello who described most federal roads in the state as ‘’death traps’’, blamed the deplorable condition of state maintained roads on the diversion from already collapsed roads by heavy-duty truck drivers.
He recalled that about N500 million recently spent to rehabilitate Suleja/Minna Road (a federal road) has been rendered ineffective by the high volume of heavy duty trucks on the road due to the collapse of Mokwa/Tegina/Birni Gwari/Kaduna Road.
‘’We spent about N500 million to rehabilitate this road (Minna/Suleja Road), to make it motorable about 3 months ago and at that time it will take you less than 2 hours to get to Abuja from Minna and within a very short period because other routes are bad most of the heavy trucks have diverted to this road and has such Minna/Bida Road and Minna /Suleja Road are now in bad condition”.
He however assured the people of the state of government’s commitment to road rehabilitation despite the economic challenges. “We are going to try our effort to maintain both state and federal roads across the state”.
The governor then directed the state Ministry of Works to come up with a comprehensive rehabilitation of some federal roads in order to reduce the pressure on Minna/Suleja Road