By Ike Uchechukwu, CALABAR
The Federal Government has described the intrusion into right of way, compensation impasse as a major obstacle hindering the progress of construction activities and the dualisation of the Calabar /Itu Federal highway.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola made the revelation Thursday while inspecting progress of work on the Cross River axis of the road.
The minister, represented by Director, Construction & Rehabilitation , Engr. Folorunso Esan, noted that apart from the challenges of right of way, the ministry had no issues of funding on the project as the it was among critical roads funded by NNPC through tax credit was ready
He however called on Cross River state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade to help resolve the issue of compensations, so that the contractors can finish the dualisation work as scheduled.
The minister who expressed satisfaction with the level of work from the Odukpani axis of the highway handled by Julius Berger said that the job would be delivered by June/ July of 2023.
His words :” We are encouraged with the level and quality of work done so far by Julius Berger handling the 21.9km from Odukpani to the power plant.
“Our major and only challenge for now is that of right of ways Government has for long paid compensation for this but I dont know why people are still on the right of way , it’s an issue that will be resolved.
“As a matter of fact, this is delaying progress of work and we want the governor to assist in this regard since the land belong to the State and they are his people,” he said .
At the Okuiboku/Itu power plant section been handled by Sermatech, the minister who lauded the contractor over the level of work so far , however charged them to do more in order to deliver the project by November 2023.
On his part , Engr. Kehinde Bakare, Site Manager for Julius Berger, said that no fewer than 3km of the section of the road have been asphalted while a bridge and number of culvert have been constructed.
“We have also done quite some kilometres of earth work and we have not issue with payment,” he stated.
In thesame vein , Joseph Ukpata, site manager for Sermatech, explained that from the four bridges they are to construct from the 28.6 km section of the highway, three are been worked on simultaneously.
“We have also constructed 25 culverts from the 46 on the section and we working simultaneously on 12 locations on the section.
“Our challenge is the right of way. If this is sorted out, we can crash the deadline for delivery of the project even with the 11km running through swamp on the section,” he stated.