Heavy traffic has built up in Enugu State following the collapse of the 50-year-old Abakpa-Nike Bridge during an intense rainfall on Wednesday night.
Although no life was lost in the disaster, our correspondent observed that the heavy traffic in Abakpa-Nike, Emene and Trans-Ekulu areas on Thursday made many residents to trek to their places of work.
Commercial motorcyclists had a field day as those who could not trek resorted to taking motorcycle.
A taxi driver, Mr. Solomon Agu, said the bridge shook violently for about two minutes before it collapsed.
He said, “I was taking a passenger home that night when the bridge started shaking. I applied brake immediately, but even at that, the car kept bouncing while the earth shook. This whole thing happened within two minutes and I was just approaching the tip of the bridge.
“When the tremor stopped, I turned on my headlamp to continue the journey, but to my surprise, the soil before me had sunk into the earth and the bridge also collapsed.
“Immediately, I alerted oncoming motorists, most of them on top speed despite the rain, and we made a swift reverse. This caused traffic snarls that night, which lasted in Abakpa-Nike and Trans-Ekulu till about midnight.”
A resident in Abakpa, Miss Chinaza Ulelu, said, “This noise that erupted before the bridge collapsed was really frightening and most of us fled our homes not minding the heavy rain.”
“We had to flee thinking it was another plane crash because the place is close to the airport. Although the airport has not been functioning for some time now, we didn’t want to take chances.”
Meanwhile, the South-East Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Bandele Onimode, has blamed the bridge collapse on the “indiscriminate dumping of refuse by residents in the area.”
Onimode said, “The refuse blocked the flow of water and because of the downpour, water had to find its way into the earth under the bridge and it gave in.
“The Minister of Works has mobilised workers to commence the repair of the bridge and as you can see, work is ongoing.”
The Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime, flew in from Abuja on Thursday to inspect the work on the collapsed bridge.