By Kingsley Adegboye
The Federal Government is considering exploring the option of cement usage in construction of roads in the country. Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, an architect, who disclosed this at the weekend said his ministry will understudy the proposal submitted by the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria CEMAN, on the use of cement in road construction in the country, which he noted came at the time the ministry is reviewing its road sector design manuals.
Onolememen told the visiting CEMAN chairman, Mr. Joseph Makoju, an Engineer, and the groups’ and Executive Secretary, Mr. James Salako, that cement based roads are remarkable for their durability and resilience.
According to him, cement based roads can last twice the lifespan of asphalt based roads but that the high cost of the product in the past had given rise to the choice of asphalt in road construction. Makoju who noted the price of cement is falling and described this as good for the industry.
The CEMAN boss further stated that until now, the use of asphalt in road construction was considered cheaper but as at today, cement is at par with asphalt and cheaper in terms of cost effectiveness, durability of the roads, maintenance and most of all, environmentally friendlier.
He added that limestone which is the raw material for the production of cement is readily available in the country which now accounts for the massive production of over 28 million tonnes across the country.
He promised that the product unlike kerosene and premium spirit will never be in short supply should road construction companies commence its usage.
He therefore urged the Federal Government to reassess the cost implication of both materials so as to know where to place tax payer’s money for maximum benefit.
The Minister who was represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary and Director, Highways Planning and Development, Bala Danshehu, an engineer promised that the government will explore all options especially now that the cost of road construction is on the high side.