On Wednesday, 18th June 2014, the Eket branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, in line with the 2014 Engineering Week’s theme undertook an industrial visit to two major developmental projects of the state government handled by Julius Berger Construction Company. First on the list was the suspended Uyo-Abak Bridge which is considered as the tallest bridge in this part of the world.
The NSE team was received by Julius Berger’s Senior Safety Officer, Mr. Bill O’Conell, and his assistant, Mr. Essien Robert Okon. After a brief introduction of the company personnel as well as the NSE delegates, the tour started with a safety brief by Mr. O’Conell, who later handed the team over to Mr. Okon for guidance. The NSE team was provided with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) before proceeding to the construction site.
The Project Engineer, Engr. Kehinde, took the NSE into the design and execution of the engineering masterpiece, conceptualized to be a dual carriage bridge that links the newly constructed Abak - Uyo road. Using the master plan that contained the schematics of all the relevant cross-sections, he explained in detail the major components of both the bridge’s super-structure and the substructure. According to him, the Uyo-Abak Bridge is the tallest bridge in Akwa Ibom which is about 50 meters high and 342.5 meters long. Little wonder it has been nicknamed by different schools of thought who have referred to the structure by different names such as hanging bridge, standing bridge, overhead bridge
The issue of nomenclature was finally resolved by the project engineer himself who actually referred to the structure as a suspended bridge. The sub-structure consists of a combination of bored piles and pre-cast piles which are about 35cm in size and 50m deep, leaving nothing to chance. He added that the driven precast concrete piles are often considered because of their distinctive characteristics that make them well suited as deep foundation elements. The project engineer also hinted that incremental landing technique was deployed for one end where the abutment was installed with substantial amount of reinforcement.