By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Following attendant gridlock as rehabilitation and reconstruction work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway progresses, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has appealed to motorists to bear with contractors and the government even as it stressed the need for patience, orderliness and the cooperation of citizens throughout the duration of the project.

Meantime, the contracting firm, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, handling the Lagos end of the road, explained that the nature of the rehabilitation work on its long bridge section which required the complete scraping off and replacement of the asphalt surface (technically called Milling) and replacement of the expansion joints necessitated the partial restrictions on the bridge.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola made the remarks in a statement through his Special Adviser, Communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello.

While stressing the need for patience and orderliness, Fashola stated that the current temporary discomfort would eventually lead to a safer and smoother movement by motorists when the reconstruction work is completed.

According to him, in view of the traffic experience of the past two days, the contracting firm has been working to adjust the barriers backwards to make more room for traffic to move faster adding that in collaboration with other stakeholders, work was ongoing on the repairs of an alternative route to which smaller vehicles will be diverted.

Fashola recalled that the contracting firm resumed work on the expressway after moving away from the site for over 12 months, due to non-payment for work done by the previous administration.

He continued, “But first on the strength of assurances given that they would be paid and eventually after the settlement of outstanding bills by the Federal Government, the contractor began full remobilization procedure which is currently being concluded with full action scheduled to commence from this week.

“However, even while the full remobilization was ongoing, the contractor began the rehabilitation of the long bridge section of the road by scraping off the asphaltic surfacing (milling), removing the expansion joints and replacing same with new ones and preparing the bridge for new asphalt.

“In order to achieve this, one half of the Lagos bound section of the bridge was blocked to traffic with the use of median crash barriers which allows for only two normal vehicles to pass at the same time.

“However, as some articulated vehicles either move slowly or breaks down, traffic backlog developed which eventually result in chaotic traffic gridlock when some motorists attempt to overtake even within the narrow space.

However, giving an insight into its tight work schedule for the bridge, the contractors stated that the two main lanes currently under construction would be completed by the end of August while work on the various other “narrow lanes” would be spread over the next four months for final delivery by middle of December.

“Being a very challenging programme which also depended on the weather condition during the period, we sought for the cooperation of all stakeholders.” Julius Berger pleaded.


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