The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday continued the inspection of Federal Government’s infrastructural projects across the country with a visit to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion work there.
The Minister, who kick-started the tour on Tuesday with a visit to the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line, inspected the two sections of the expressway: from Lagos to Shagamu Interchange and Shagamu Interchange to Ibadan.
While briefing the Minister and his team, Mr. Noar Narkisis, the Project Engineer of the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), the contractor handling the Shagamu-Ibadan axis, said the work had reached 58.27% completion.
He said the RCC is currently working to expand and reinforce the road, in addition to building concrete drainages and repairing failed bridges, adding: “The work we are doing is the rehabilitation and widening of the existing road, drainage work and we are doing expansion work for bad bridges and also repairing failed bridges.”
Mr. Narkisis, who said the RCC is also doing maintenance of the existing carriageway to ensure a free flow of traffic, gave the assurance that before the end of the year, the company will complete the asphalt-laying phase of the entire 84-kilometer sector.
The Project Engineer told the Minister that 4,000 jobs have been created as a result of the highway construction on Section II alone.
At the Shagamu Interchange, Mr. Wolfgang Losesser, the Division Manager of Julius Berger, the contractor handling Section One from Lagos to the Shagamu Interchange, said 17 kilometres of the 3-lane, 43-kilometre road had been completed.
“From Shagamu driving toward here, the first 17 kilometres on the Lagos bound side has already been completed. Then you realize that it has gone back to the old two lanes. Here we are just doing some palliative work because the rainy season is coming and we are working on the drainage,” he said.
Mr. Losesser said in the next couple of days, massive construction work will commence, and disclosed that a huge interchange is being constructed to contain the huge vehicular traffic around the Redeem Christian Church of God
He also said for the first time in Nigeria, a special mixture of asphalt is being used to prevent the road from caving in due to the movement of heavy-duty vehicles and to extend the lifespan of the road to 20 years.
The Divisional Manager said the Section One of the road is 53% completed.
In his remarks, Minister of Information and Culture explained that the recent extension of the scope of work was in anticipation of the huge traffic coming out of Lagos to the Shagamu interchange.
“Some 70% of the traffic coming to Lagos is from the Lagos-Shagamu Exchange… which explains why the Lagos-Shagamu comprises 3 lanes on each side while the Shagamu Ibadan comprises 2 lanes on each side,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed expressed happiness at the pace of work and called on the contractor to deliver on the project as scheduled.
He said already, travel time on the expressway has been reduced, accidents have reduced and security is enhanced, even with partial completion, and that travel time would be further reduced when the road is completed, with the attendant positive impact for the economy.