Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has restated the federal government’s commitment to completing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway project despite the scarce resources as a result of sharp drop in oil price.
The Lagos-Ibadan highway is a trunk A road located in the South-west region of the country and was contracted in two sections (I and II) to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Reymond Construction (RCC) Limited respectively.
A statement by Boade Akinola, Director, Press and Public Relations, stated that Fashola spoke at the interactive town hall meeting with stakeholders at Ogere in Ogun state.
Fashola explained that section I of the project was the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan dual carriageway of about 43.6km commencing from old-toll gate at Oregun/Ikosi-Ketu Lagos and terminating at Shagamu interchange in Ogun State.
He stated also that the Section ll which is about 84km starts from Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan and is being handled by RCC.
“These highway projects are financed with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) funded from the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and they are national priority highway projects,” he said.
He the Ogere town hall meeting was the third in a series his ministry has organised in order to address the critical conditions militating against the timely completion of the projects, explaining that the Muhammadu Buhari administration was committed to bridging the road infrastructure gap.
Responding to questions from stakeholders at the town hall meeting on the delay in completing the project and other issues bordering on safety of the road users, he appealed to the contractors to accelerate work to ease traffic flow especially during the forthcoming Christmas season.
He also called on the contractors to build signages and hazard warning signs.
“You contractors should remember that you do this work for the people and that you must be passionate in doing it by easing the trauma people go through while on the road, “ he added.
While calling for the cooperation and patience of the road users, Fashola gave a matching order to truck drivers to move away from the road at the Ogere parking point, explaining that their activities along the highway was constituting a menace to the road itself.
“Truck parking operation is a business. You must plan your parking space, you cannot run your business at the discomfort of other people. Park away immediately today because parking on the highway is a violation of highway code,’’ he stated.
Delivering his welcome address, the Director, Highways Construction and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, Mr. Olufunsho Adebiyi noted that the meeting was to enable the benefitting communities see themselves as co-owners and to partner the federal government in achieving the project.
He added that the initial contract was only for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Section l (Lagos to Shagamu interchange) and Section ll (Shagamu Interchange – Ibadan and also the rehabilitation of existing bridges on the road.
Adebiyi stated that considering the heavy traffic on the highway, both contracts was were reviewed to include the construction of new flyover bridges, interchanges and pedestrian bridges, raising the contract sum to the tune of N134.8 billion and N176.5 billion for both sections 1 & 2 respectively.
While explaining the progress of work on the expressway, the Managing-Director of Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria (RCC) Limited, Mr. Nabeel Esawi, stated that the total asphalt length in both direction of the road is 95km and promised that the work would be delivered on schedule.
He lamented the vehicular congestion on the road due to indiscriminate parking by articulated vehicles, vehicular and road traffic accidents, congestion due to inflow of traffic during peak periods etc.
Presenting his progress report, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Plc, Dr Lars Richter said the project had been a much anticipated national infrastructure with immense socio-economic benefits for the adjoining states and the entire nation.
”The Section l has the highest traffic volume in Nigeria. On this stretch of highway not only is there a high way volume of traffic with large commercial activities, but also a large number of commuters who travel in and out of Lagos daily,” he said.