BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
…As Lagos begs residents for understanding
WITH renewed vigor, Plycon Construction company, the indigenous construction firm awarded the reconstruction of Ipaja Ayobo road, by Lagos state government seems to be marching steadily to fulfil its commitment to deliver the dual carriageway latest in November.
Residents last week noted with sense of satisfaction the professional touch being accorded the most difficult section of the road between Oluwaga and Megida. Apart from shifting from the use of traditional red sand to crush stones and gravel for the terrain, work now goes on there day and night.
No doubt, the slow pace of work on the reconstruction has become a source of worry to road users and residents of Ayobo and Igbo-Ilogbo, in Ipaja-Ayobo Local Council Development Area, LCDA. The road is the only major strategic route linking over 10 communities in the area and others within Alimosho Local Government Area.
However, from all indications, respite is on the way for residents and road users in this area as government gave its commitment to deliver the project for use unfailingly, sometime in November this year, therefore, urging residents to give their support and understanding towards the completion of the project.
The project which was awarded in May 2011 by the state government with work commencing in October, same year, has entire length of about 7.5 km and 16.0 in width.
It is a dual carriage way, with the scope of work comprising of drainage and culvert construction, median, walkway, earthwork, crush stone base course, paving stone, provision of streetlight, fire hydrant and beatification among others.
For years, residents have resorted to either abandoning their vehicles at home or relocated their parking space to safe and more accessible places. Those who are not fortunate enough suffer the pain of exorbitant transport fares as commercial vehicles jerked up the fares due to the bad situation of the road.
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Femi Hamzat, while speaking about the level of work, assured residents of the state government’s commitment to delivering a standard road at the end of the day as the situation has gotten the attention of Governor Babatunde Fashola who is interested in early completion of the project.
To further demonstrate his seriousness and commitment on early completion of the project, some weeks ago, Governor Fashola paid an unscheduled inspection of the project and gave an ultimatum to the contractor to deliver the project as soon as possible without further delay.
Last weekend, the contractor, mobilised more workforce to the site in apparent response to the Executive Order on the project, as workers were seen moving the tractors and trucks around the site even in the light showers of rains.
Speaking with curious journalists, the Project Manager, Mr. Femi Awokoya, while confirming the delivery period of the project, explained some of the challenges and constraints facing being experienced saying; “The state government awarded the contract to us in May 7, 2011. We spent a couple of months to engage in the road design. And we moved to site in October of the same year.
“We have completed 60 percent of the road median, 90 percent of the drains and 65 percent of the walkways. From this section of the road, Ipaja Road, what we will be doing on the road next week (this week) is the paving work.
Challenge/Constraint: According to him; “The challenges we had in completing the project has been the nature of the terrain in the community. Most incredibly also is the amount of rainfall experienced yearly.
The rain posed a serious challenge for road construction in the community. From Baruwa to Megida Bus stop, we have completed 90 percent of the drains which represent the most challenging aspect of the project. “What we are doing now is to raise the carriage way up to the required level before we commence the grading of the surface. We have been able to more or less complete that. “ However, from this section of the road-Oluwaga, to Megida Bus stop, this is where we have a herculean task. It required utmost concentration.. In that section we are carrying out the earthwork. And the challenge we had here was that apart from the waste water that passes through the channels where the water naturally turns, there is also water coming from the same end of the road, discharging into the drainage under construction and then flow onto the road. We are concentrating much effort to arrest this situation.
“The normal material we use for filling the road which is laterite, but in other to ameliorate the suffering of the residents, we begun to fill the road with sharp sands and stone based sand. Although it is very expensive for any contractor to cope with this but we are doing it to reassure the people that the state government and we (contractor) are committed to the quick completion of the road.”
Appeal to residents
In appealing to the residents for understanding, Awokoya said his company understands that they are Lagos state residents who pay their taxes regularly.
“For this act, they have the right to air their opinion on what affects their well being. Whatever they say, we understand their expectation on the road. “For people who are going through this daily, it seems like it would go on forever. We share in their pains, apprehension and worry on this project.
“We understand and that is why we are trying to explain to the leaders of the community and individuals on the progress made on the construction work. “Some of the things we told them was that they should be patient with us because this is a flood prone area. We are fully committed to the actualisation of the project. All we demand from the residents of the area is to exercise patience with us. We will deliver the project within the shortest possible time,” he said.