The Minster of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has directed Julius Berger, the contractor handling section one rehabilitation/reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, to speed up work ahead of the Yuletide.
Fashola, while inspecting the highway on Saturday, told the Julius Berger team after taking their project presentations, to hurry construction ahead of the Yuletide.
He urged the contractors to liaise with the Federal Controllers of Works in Lagos and Ogun States towards fixing important sections to make the road motorable, safe and free of traffic congestion.
The minister also urged the firm to improve the quality and spread of signages and diversion signs around the construction zone and accelerate work towards Christmas celebration.
Fashola urged the contractor, whose section spanned from Ojota in Lagos State to Sagamu Interchange in Ogun State, to make the construction wear a “human face” that addressed hardship of road users.
“Understand that you do it for people and we want a sense of compassion. Plan with the controllers of Lagos and Ogun,” he said.
In their presentation, the Managing Director, Julius Berger, Lars Richters, alongside his project manager, Thomas Christl, took turn to explain efforts to speed up construction in spite of reckless driving and high traffic volume.
The duo also explained progress recorded on bridges and other construction on various sections of the highway.
The firm also raised issues of ‘Right of Way Compensations’ that were yet to be paid, thereby slowing down construction on some sections.
The firm lamented impatience of road users compounding gridlock on the highway.
“Here we are on good progress,” the project manager said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the firm commended Fashola’s revolutionary achievements in the nation’s infrastructure development, and gave him an award on the project site.
The Director, Federal Highways for the South West, Adedamola Kuti, also said Julius Berger and RCC, which is working on Section 2 of the highway, had both been directed to carry out palliatives ahead of yuletide to make it smooth.
While inspecting Section 2 of the highway, which spanned from Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan, the Federal Controller of Works in Ogun State, Umar Bakare, explained details of construction works on the project site.
Bakare said: “So far the contractor has achieved 51.6 per cent in the construction of the road.
“They have completed over 43km on Lagos and Ibadan bound from change 101 + 717 to change 57 plus 750.
“The project has been completed from around Guru Maharaji area in Ibadan up to others here where you have the trailer park. It has been completed substantially,” he said.
Bakare explained that the two carriageways had been completed to final layers within the section, adding that other sections were on various levels of construction.
He assured that all sections would be made motorable on the project that had created over 400 direct jobs and over 1,450 people directly benefiting from the project.
He explained that over 20 million litres of diesel, 30,000 tons of cement, 1,000 tons of steel, which had created indirect opportunities for citizens, have been used, adding that the contractor also took supplies of stones even though it had its own quarry.
He lamented activities of trucks blocking the Oghere side of the highway making the site inaccessible, but noted that a task force had been trying to curtail the excesses of the drivers causing gridlock.
The Managing Director of RCC, contractors on the project, Nabeel Esawi, assured that the firm planned to open all diversions before December 22 after making the road motorable.
He said the road had been completed to final asphalt on some sections with 51km on the Ibadan bound and 44km on the Lagos bound carriageway.
Esawi said: “Our programme of work this dry season is to complete 43km for both sides to have at least from 43 to 103, 60km completed on both sides.
“That is our programme we want to achieve up to May 2021.”
Uche Orji, Managing Director, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, said the inspection was part of a fact finding mission on the project while explaining the funding.
Orji called for patience during the construction of the road, where highest quality standards were being adopted, adding that it will be tolled upon completion.