Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has affirmed the completion of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by April 30. However, completion of the Abuja-Kano Expressway is not assured until after the transition to the next administration. During his speech, he commended the patience and understanding of commuters of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, not exempting the fact that execution of the project is difficult. This difficulty is because it is one of the busiest roads in the country.
In his speech at the pre-inspection of the completed Loko-Oweto Bridge in Nasarawa State, he asserted that construction of a 40,000 vehicular expressway was an uneasy job as roads can’t be shut down. As a result, management and diversion of the traffic has been the safest option for constructors of the road. Forbearance is therefore pleaded by the minister until the deadline date. In about four weeks to this time, the road will be open to traffic from Lagos to Ibadan and about 16 kilometers beyond the toll gate.
Oyo State project delays road-building project.
According to Mr. Fashola, nine kilometers — kilometers 17 to 27 — will be remaining in the construction. This is because there is an ongoing construction of a drainage across the road by the Oyo State Government. This drainage is significant to addressing the problem of excessive flooding and climate change in Oyo State. He thinks it is only reasonable to pause the construction nine kilometers away until completion of the drainage project rather than constructing it now and have it demolished.
Commenting on the Abuja-Kano Expressway, the Minister declared that in terms of scope and budget it was the biggest of all ongoing road projects. It is 375 kilometers in terms of size. It comprises of 41 bridges of different sizes. It was the last road project to begin so it is impossible for it to be completed the same time as the others. However, visible progress has been made from Zaria to Kano — 137 kilometers — and according to the contractors, there should be full completion of the site by May 15.
Governments are requested to divert obstructions.
Contractors have also assured that the road from Kaduna to Zaria, which is over 70 kilometers, will be fully constructed and open to traffic by April 30. However, the Abuja-Kaduna road, although started in the Buhari-led administration, would be completed in the next administration. The delay in the quick execution of the road is because it is the busiest roads in the area. It has the most traffic with almost 40,000 vehicles daily. The major cause of the delay is the fact that there have been an encroachment on the right of way between FCT, Niger and Kaduna States.
Currently, the ministry is working in collaboration with governors of these states for assistance in relocation of obstructions to foster easy construction. The Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project — a improvement in the country’s energy security — has likewise delayed completion of the project. The minister attested that there are challenges unknown to the public regarding construction of the road, which include the fact that the gas pipeline project and the road project has to be taken sequentially and orderly.
Law enforcement agencies contributed to success of the construction.
During the course of building the roads, about a year and half was lost to security challenges and complete relocation of contractors from a section for inability to work. Regardless, he applauded law enforcement agencies, particularly the Chief of Defense Staff and his team. With their intervention in erasing security threats, it was possible for contractors to return easily to the site and continue with unfinished construction. Soon, the federal government will inaugurate the Loko-Oweto Bridge and the Second Niger Bridge.