By Jude NJOKU
The Federal Ministry of Works has embarked on the installation of weigh bridges on highways across the country. Minister of Works, Senator Sanusi Daggash who disclosed this in his seasonal message to Nigerians, re-iterated the “need for all haulage operators to exercise restraint from over-loading their trucks and trailers as these inimical actions remain the major cause of rapid road failure”.
The Minister who noted that the existing roads network are not designed to carry such heavy axle loads explained that the installation of weigh bridges would safeguard the roads from rapid deterioration arising from excessive axle load.
He declared that vehicles found culpable will pay a fine and the excess load will be offloaded at the weigh bridge plaza.
The Minister stated that mindful of the critical role road transportation contributes to the National economy and the need to ensure that road transportation is undertaken in a safe and reliable manner, the Ministry of Works will embark on massive road construction and critical rehabilitation works across the country.
“Progress on many of the on-going projects were severely hampered by the heavy rains during the rainy season. However, as many as 13 road projects are now ready for commissioning while six others should be completed before the end of January 2011.
The Abuja to Lokoja dualisation project is receiving new impetus and attention; the rehabilitation of the Shagamu to Benin road is also being fast tracked as the construction companies have received assurances of cooperation from the impacted States. Other critical roads across the country are receiving attention,” Senator Daggash said.
He attributed the rising number of accidents on our roads to what he called “driver indiscipline, ignorance, impatience, lack of respect and common courtesy for other road users”. Said he: “It is saddening to note that drivers continue to over-speed, not minding road condition and hazards.
This mad rush has often led to the premature deaths of many promising citizens. I remain astounded when I see drivers creating multiple lanes on main roads and at intersections as if there was an award for the first vehicle out of the blocks. The resultant consequence is road chaos and it is to the detriment of other road users who obey the basic rules of driving and maintain road etiquette”.
He charged all road users and cable laying construction companies to exercise due diligence and care in the use of the road network and avoid inimical actions that cause other road users discomfort and are capable of reducing the design life span of the road network.
Senator Daggash pledged the preparedness of his Ministry deliver on its mandate to build a quality road network and provide timely maintenance of existing roads across the country.