Dilapidated Gombe-Bauchi Highway: Anxiety Ahead Of Rainy Season

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The Gombe-Bauchi road becomes a source of agony and subjects motorists and passengers to untold hardship every rainy season as it breaks down repeatedly without serious repairs by the government. The high-way is busy everyday because of its significance and the relationship between residents of the two states.
Recall that Gombe was carved out of Bauchi State when it became a sovereign state. So, there is still frequent movement to and from the two states by their residents. The high-way also links the two states to Adamawa and Taraba states, hence it is crucial for many people.
However, travellers passing by it experience awful journey due to the numerous potholes on the road where one cannot travel a distance of 10 kilometres smoothly without dribbling and dodging potholes or entering broken ways.
Our correspondent reports that the problem escalates during raining seasons as two bridges along the road particularly around Tashar Tirmi and Bara villages break down every year, forcing travellers to return to Gombe and follow through Dukku village, which was longer, too dusty if it is not raining or muddy when there is downpour.
This is even as others get stuck for hours on the dilapidated Gombe-Bauchi road whenever there is much traffic caused by big trucks and petroleum tanks lorries.
LEADERSHIP Weekend reports that at times, passengers alight from their vehicles to cross the collapsed bridge and enter another one at the shore to take them to Bauchi while the first vehicle would take those who crossed the broken bridge from vehicles coming from Bauchi and move them to Gombe.
Despite these difficulties experienced each year, the federal government is yet to bring succour through total reconstruction even with series of pledges to do so. But the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been renovating the spoiled portions of the road continuously, though it has failed to fix the broken bridges.
Bauchi state government usually assists by supplying trucks of stones and rock pieces to fill up the bridges whenever they collapse to enable passage of vehicles. A lot of buses and trucks have been falling and capsizing while passing along the washed out bridges, leading to destruction of properties, injuries and loss of lives sometimes.
Our correspondent had sought the reactions of some drivers and travellers on the awful situation of the highway many of whom blamed members of the National Assembly from Gombe and Bauchi states for ‘failure to draw attention on the situation of the road with a view to influencing the federal government to fix it’.
While saying that it will take drivers more than an extra hour to get to Gombe from Bauchi because of the bad condition of the road as a result of pot-holes, the respondents stated that the situation is so bad that fatal road crashes are frequent.
To Alkasim Mohammed, the condition of the road is worse from Bauchi to Alkaleri, with a collapsed bridge around there, which has a distance of about 50 kilometers in a journey that will take up to 155 kilometers to Gombe.
He lamented that commercial drivers and private car owners are always carrying out repairs after every journey, with costs incurred as a result unquantifiable.
A traveller, Mubarak Mohammed, described the road as horrible compounded by the rains, especially with the presence of heavy duty vehicles ‘which makes it difficult for cars to safely ply the road without accidents occurring’.
He said it is common to see vehicles parked by the road side while on a journey, because of the effect of the bad road.
Other travellers opined that fixing of the road by the federal government would make motorists have a sigh of relief, but one of them was quick to add that this could only happen if the road undergoes a complete overhaul, not a rehabilitation.
“There was a time during last raining season when I was travelling to Abuja with passengers via this route, along Bara, there was flood and I had no option than to go back to Futuk, Alkaleri route which is almost going to Bauchi from Gombe in terms of kilometers and I wasted more fuel because of this problem.”, a motorist complained.
Governors of the two states have pleaded severally with the federal government to come to the aid of the two states by repairing the road but it is yet to be done.
Gombe State governor Inuwa Yahaya who visited the collapsed road last year’s rainy season urged the federal government to act with the needed urgency, just like his Bauchi counterpart Bala Mohammed, who also visited the scene charged the federal government to expedite action on the road.
Bala urged FG to reconstruct the entire road, describing the axis as busiest corridor but has been neglected by previous administrations.
“This is going to affect our food security, it is going to affect our commerce, and it will deepen poverty, and that is why we are worried. We are calling on the federal government that has rekindled some hope in us, that this thing can be done quickly within the new initiative that they have on infrastructure.
“We are still calling on federal government to look at this corridor because it is the major gateway that connects the North-East with the North-West, North-Central, and indeed the whole country, because nobody goes to Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe, Borno except he passes this place.”, Bala said.
However, the Bauchi governor last year also stated that he met with the vice president Kashim Shettima and got a serious commitment of the federal government to reconstruct the road within a time period of six months.
“I am happy to say that on your behalf, we have discussed extensively with His Excellency, the vice president on this excruciating experience between Bauchi and Gombe for commuters and transporters.
“By the grace of Allah (God), within the next six months, the road will be rebuilt so that it will ease transportation between Bauchi and Gombe, Yobe and Adamawa.
“This I have secured a very serious commitment. This is something that we should be proud of this administration under His Excellency, president Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is ready to do this in terms of the infrastructure he will do in each of the geopolitical zones.”, he stated.
LEADERSHIP Weekend observed that the deadline had since lapsed and motorists and travellers have already started raising concerns that another traumatic experience will be repeated when rain begins.





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