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By Bennett Oghifo

The reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is to be completed in 2021 and work on the road is not expected to stop until it is ready, as the federal government has set aside $650 million to complete it and four others, including Abuja-Kaduna-Kano, the last section of East-West Road, Mambila Plateau and the Second Niger Bridge.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Engineer Adedammola Kuti stated this, during the week, at the opening of a section of the road that was shut for reconstruction, to ease movement during the festive period.

Kuti said the infrastructure fund of the federal government was growing and that if he had his figures right, “it must have risen to about a billion dollars, but I know that it is not less than $650 million. The 127.6 kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Expressway reconstruction and expansion was started by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration in July 2013 and the cost of the total works was put at N167 billion in 48 months by two contractors, Messrs Julius Berger Plc., and Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Ltd.

The reconstruction and expansion works did not go as planned because of inadequate funding but this has been resolved with the setting aside of $600 million by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, according to Kuti.

He said the road ought to have been completed in 2017 but that because of additional work, “we now have to take into consideration the construction of under-passes, flyovers and even toll plazas- and with additional works, you expect the completion date to also shift; we are moving it forward to about 2021 but the work is not going to stop, like we experienced in the past which was due to poor funding. Right now, this federal government has set aside enough funds for the completion of this job.”

The project, he said is ongoing and that the federal government was committed to completing it and had set aside huge sum of money that it would benefit from massively.

“So, we don’t expect any slowdown of activities outside weather that is why we want to make the best use of this dry season to finish our work. The public should exercise patience with us; the road is a priority road to the federal government of Nigeria.”

He said the rate of work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway had increased significantly since the introduction of the Infrastructural Fund. “Completion percentage has also risen; initially, we were getting close to 60 per cent, but now with the introduction of new works, the percentage drops; that is the way it is calculated.”

The Controller of Works also inspected the Ikorodu-Sagamu road that is being expanded to four lanes from its single lane structure.

The road, which reconstruction started in April this year, is being done by Arab Contractors and they are working in sections for strategic reasons, said Kuti.

A section of the road would be built in concrete and others in asphalt to enable it carry the load it is designed for, he said.