By Bertram Nwannekanma
The Federal Government has pledged early completion of Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta expressway to fasten socio-economic growth and international trade within Ogun and Lagos corridors.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of the about 80 kilometres road was last week awarded by the Federal Government to Julius Berger Plc at the cost of N22.38 billion.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who spoke at the flag-off of the road reconstruction at kilometre zero, Ile-Zik, along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, regretted that the road had suffered several abandonments and contract variations owing to paucity of fund.
He, however, stressed the readiness of the present government to prioritise key infrastructure to drive the economy and address the security challenges by ensuring that critical roads like the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road is completed in record time.
Fashola, represented by Director of Highway Construction and Reconstruction, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Olalekan Busari, said the Federal Government was committed to completion of the road because of its socio-economic importance, and as an alternative to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ilorin-Ile-Ife, as well as an international link to Benin Republic.
Fashola emphasised that the re-award of the road signified a new vista as the contractors have been mandated to recover the failed portions alongside the main work for ease of traffic and to boost economic activities and security.
Construction works on the road, he said, would also generate both direct and indirect employment during the construction expected to last for one and half years.
“Already, the contractors have commenced palliative work on mostly damages portions.
He reiterated that the contractors have been mobilised to site with 15 per cent down-payment, representing about N3.8 billion, while there will be need for complete review of the drainage system occasioned by new development on the corridor, including the BRT road being constructed by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).
Head of Julius Berger, West Division, Mr. Wolfgang Loesser, who spoke on behalf of the contractor, expressed readiness to complete the project within schedule.
He said the company had mobilised workers to site to carry out palliatives as directed by the government to address critical failed portions to ease traffic and lessen the travel time on the road.