By Kingsley Adegboye
The Federal Government has commenced work on section 2 of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, four months after the contract was awarded to Dangote Group.
Director of Federal Highways in South-West, Adedamola Kuti, also explained that administrative issues that had delayed commencement of work on the section had been resolved, adding that work had subsequently commenced on the section which begins at Sunrise and ends at Cele Bus Stop.
According to Kuti, the issues include perfecting of papers between the federal government and Dangote Group as well as designs and drawings.
“We had an administrative delay in the commencement of work on section 2 of Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway but this has been resolved. Work has since commenced, and hopefully, it will pick up as we approach the dry season,” he explained.
Section 2 of the reconstruction project which commenced in 2018, was not part of the original contract awarded to Dangote Group under tax credit initiative.
The section was awarded to Dangote Group about four months ago but the company did not mobilise to site.
Construction work began in 2018, on sections 1 and 3 as part of a bargain between Dangote Group and the Federal Government to enjoy a 10-year tax rebate that accrued to N72.9 billion. The road has been cause of heavy traffic flow.
So far, section 1, which begins at Liverpool axis of Apapa and ends at Sunrise, had been completed, while section 3 which begins at Cele and ends at Ojota by 7Up, had been completed up to Gbagada axis of the dual carriageway.
During the inspection of the project in 2019, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had noted that “the planned variation would include Section II of the road, which stretches from Beach land Estate/ Coconut through Mile II to Cele, which was not originally part of the N72.9 billion-road contract.”
Fashola added that the section of the road was not included because it was just constructed at that time. He, however stressed the need to include section 2 into the existing contract because the section, made up of the old bituminous type pavement, had begun to show signs of wear and tear due to the heavy axle load that characterise the usage.
He explained that the contract awarded through a strategic partnership with the Dangote Group, using the tax credit initiative in a Private Public Partnership, PPP, model was designed in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to ensure an enduring solution to Apapa port road, using the concrete model.
According to him, the presence of heavy deposits of wastes and refuse on the road, which inhibits free flow of water, is slowly damaging the road.
Fashola extolled the contractor for the completion of some sections of the road, stressing that the intention of government was to do the work in sections and open completed areas to traffic until its final completion by the end of next year.
He also expressed hope that business operators that had left Apapa as a result of failed infrastructure would return on completion, as it will spark off property redevelopment and renewal in the area.
The Minister noted that businesses are already picking up at Liverpool and Creek roads because of the ongoing work.
He said the road reconstruction would boost the employment generation drive of the present administration, as most of the materials used are locally manufactured leading to endurable and shared wealth.
Fashola, however, appealed to motorists to bear the initial inconveniences as a result of the reconstruction, saying the concrete poured on the reinforcement would need 28 days to cure before concluded sections will be open to traffic.
He expressed hope that when the entire road network is completed, Nigerians will have a road that will last for 40 years.
On his part, the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, assured on the quality of road, saying it will, upon completion, be one of the best in Africa.
He reiterated that the 10 lane-road would open up the economy and bring back people who had deserted Apapa because of bad road.
Dangote noted that residents and businesses in the area had been cooperative because of their desire to have their businesses back, and thanked President Buhari for the initiative.