The Minister of Works, Mr. David Umahi, on Tuesday introduced night construction to fast track Nigeria’s highway projects in line with global practices.
Umahi said this during a visit to project sites in Lagos/Ogun States. He revealed during the visit that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation/reconstruction was 98 per cent completed and would be inaugurated mid-September.
The minister said other ancillary works including interchanges and underpasses on the project would continue while he sought support of Ogun government towards payment of compensations for Right of Way recovery.
While inspecting section two of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, he was joined by Sen. Gbenga Daniel, a former Governor of Ogun State. Umahi, who is a civil engineer, said the government was going to use consultants to concession and toll all federal highways in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
He advised the contractor, Raynolds Construction Company (RCC), handling section two of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, to include a mix of cement in the Macadam being used on the project explaining that inclusion of cement could make the highway last 100 years and be used for 50 years without maintenance.
Daniel, on his part, thanked the Federal Government for the progress of the project, saying his people had endured hardship including gridlock and insecurity during construction works.
“On behalf of our people, thank you for this quick visit,” he said.
While inspecting the Lagoon section of Eko Bridge, Umahi instructed the engineers to introduce night construction in line with global practices. He said good construction ethics required minimal discomfort to road users, hence, the need to close critical sections that needed lifting for repairs after midnight.
The minister added that night hours of construction under his supervision would improve the pace of project delivery. He said it was cost effective to maintain the bridges to prevent their collapse, noting that reconstruction of any bridge would cost trillions of naira.
Umahi assured the various contractors that the outstanding of their contract sums would be paid without further delay, so as to achieve prompt delivery of the projects. He expressed satisfaction and praised the contractor, Buildwell Plants and Industries Ltd, for quality of work done at Apongbon, Ijora Olopa, Lagoon and Costain sections of Eko bridge.
“We are happy with the designs and assure that the bridge will be completed before the end of November,” he said.
Umahi promised to prevail on President Bola Tinubu for quick completion of bridges undergoing maintenance in Lagos State. While inspecting the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway project, he praised Dangote for quality of work and use of concrete.
The minister, however, was unhappy with heaps of refuse along projects alignment from Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki exit from the ports adding that he would seek help of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos on the issue. He urged his engineers to prevail on users of open spaces under the bridges to clean and maintain them.
The minister started the inspection tour from outer Marina Road and transverse roads, met with traders under Liverpool Bridge, before ending the trip with a visit to Dangote Refinery Road at the Lekki Free Trade Zone.
Umahi was accompanied on the trip by the Federal Ministry of Works Director, Highways, Bridges and Designs, Omotayo Awosanya, the Director, Federal Highways, Southwest, Adedamola Kuti and other senior directors.
Also on the delegation were the Federal Controllers of Works of Lagos and Ogun, Olukorede Kesha and Forosola Oloyede respectively, as well as officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.