By KINGSLEY ADEGBOYE & DAUD OLATUNJI
President Good-luck Jonathan Friday, flagged off the reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan express way, 35 years after its construction during the administration General Olusegun Obasanjo as Nigeria’s military Head of State.
Jonathan said that job on the 127. 6 kilometre road which would cost N 167 billion would be completed in 48 months, even as he reiterated the commitment of his administration to the provision of enduring and sustainable transportation networks across the country.
Two companies, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Reynolds Construction Company, RCC, Limited were awarded contracts. Julius Berger would handle Section 1, stretching about 43. 6 kilometres from Lagos to Shagamu Interchange while RCC is to execute section 11 of the project, which is about 84 kilometres starting from Shagamu to Ibadan in Oyo State. The projects were earlier awarded to Bi-Courtney Highway Services before the contract was revoked in controversial circumstances last year.
Jonathan described the dual carriageway, as very important because of high volume of traffic it carries … estimated at 84,000 vehicles daily.’’
He said that the’’Federal Government in 2009 entered into a concession agreement with a concessionaire as a premier Public Private Partnership, PPP, scheme in the road sector in the country’s economic development,’’ because it was a major artery that connects Lagos, the economic nerve centre of the nation and the host of major Nigerian seaports to other states of the federation.’’
According to him, “at the regional level, it is a section of Trans-Saharan highway that links Lagos on the Atlantic Ocean to Algiers on the Mediterranean Sea. The road is therefore of great socio-economic importance not only to Nigeria, but to the sub-region at large.
Four years later and due to non-performance by the concessionaire, which resulted in recurring fatal accidents, unprecedented traffic jams, security breaches, compromised public health and safety as well as the continued public outcry on the state of disrepair of this road, the concession agreement was terminated in May, 2012.
“As a responsible government, we had to intervene immediately in order to ameliorate the hardship faced by the general public on this road.
Consequently, in November 2012, we deployed two reputable road construction companies to carry out emergency repair works on the road to ease off traffic and at the same time, we commenced the process of procuring the contracts for full reconstruction and expansion of the road.
“The procurement of contracts for the road was completed on schedule, and I am happy to inform you that Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and RCC Nigeria Limited emerged as successful bidders and were subsequently awarded the contracts. This government is committed to the timely completion of the project and has made adequate arrangements for its funding.
“In addition to annual appropriation for the project, this administration has commenced negotiation with the Infrastructure Bank Plc to complement the Federal Government contribution to the project cost. With this arrangement, funding is assured and the project can be completed as scheduled.”
Jonathan however, commended the efforts of the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in rebuilding the state, describing him as an “industrious and hard working person”.
He spoke just as Governor Amosun said that his administration had since assumption of office two years ago, committed about N200bn in rehabilitating federal and state roads within the state.
The president said he was impressed by Amosun’s efforts to improve infrastructure in the state.
Earlier, Governor Amosun had lamented the poor state of federal roads in the state, expressing delight with the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan express way.
Amosun then appealed to Jonathan to consider similar intervention on the Sagamu-Mosinmi-Ikorodu road and the Sagamu interchange- Papalanto road, explaining that the two roads were of
great importance to the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.
According to Amosun, the Sagamu-Mosinmi-Ikorodu road links the Mosinmi Petroleum Depot which supplied over 70 percent of petroleum products consumed in the country, while the Sagamu Interchange- Papalanto road leads to the multi-billion dollar Olorunsogo Power Plant.
The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, described the Lagos -Ibadan express way as the ‘’busiest road in our country with an average daily traffic of 84,000 vehicles.’’
Onolememen said ‘’the scope of work would include reconstruction and expansion of the Lagos -Ibadan dual carriageway from Lagos to Shagamu,’’ pointing out that the work involved the reconstruction of the existing two-lane carriageway in each direction and addition of a third lane to give three lanes in each direction. The carriage way width is 10.95 metres with adjoining 2.75 metres out hard shoulder, 1.8 metre hard shoulder and a median among other features.