The Lagos-Ibadan expressway will be substantially ready for commuters before the end of the year, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said.
The Nation reports that the Minister made the disclosure Wednesday while inspecting the N232 billion road project been handled by Julius Berger PLC and Reynolds Construction Company (RCC), as part of the nationwide tour of the Federal Government infrastructural projects.
The minister kicked start the inspection of government projects on Tuesday alongside the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, with an inspection of the ongoing construction of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line.
The 137 kilometer Lagos-Ibadan expressway is divided into two sections, with Julius Berger Plc handling the section one of the project worth N134 billion, which covers the Lagos-Shagamu interchange while RCC covers from the Shagamu Interchange to Ibadan worth N96 billion.
The project which commenced in 2013, with initial completion date of 2017 now has 2018 completion date as a result of the initial hiccups and also the increase in scope of work.
In both axis of the project, over 50 per cent completion have been achieved, something the minister said was worth commending as it has helped to ease traffic on the very busy road.
Already, 17 kilometer of the Lagos-Shagamu road with three lanes on each side have been completed. While drainage work is ongoing.
Speaking after the inspection of the road project, the minister noted that government will continue to mount pressure on the contractors to ensure that they deliver in good time because of the economic and security importance of the road to the country.
He further assured the contractors that the government will on its part do everything possible to ensure smooth and timely completion of the project, while at the same time charging them on the need to maintain standard and do a thorough job.
He said: “Both section one and two will be substantially completed before the end of the year.
“Give and take about 53% of the projects have been completed.
“We understand the importance of the axis to the economy and security of Nigeria.
We are working to ensure rapid progress is made.
“This particular section is significant and different in many instance, in terms of traffic and capacity and scope. There are many of the churches around here and the issue of compensation, bridges and interchange, pedestrian bridges.
“No doubt with the efforts of the contractors, travel time from Lagos to Ibadan has been cut down tremendously. People use to sleep on the road before but now you can go to Ibadan under two hours. Accident rate has also reduced tremendously and with the new amendment to the contract, more facilities such as toll plaza better drainage, flyovers.
“Travel time has been reduced tremendously. People now travel with more comfort and even more security assurance. Armed robbery are easier when traffic are not moving, but when you see flowing traffic as we have seen today, it also improve security.
And with the additional work, not only are we going to have the road better, it is going to go from two to three lanes on both sides, that means it can carry more traffic. Then the auxiliary facilities that have been included like toll plaza, street lights and overhead bridges will make traveling a much more pleasant journey, which is exactly the objective but most importantly, it is the economy.”
The minister further explained that 70% of the burden of the traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway is on the Lagos-Shagamu axis of the road, which explained why it has three lanes on each side as against the Shagamu-Ibadan two lanes on each side.
He was also able to extract commitment from the contractors on timely completion of the project before the end of the year, while at the same time assuring them that the federal government will do the needful to ensure they deliver at the right time.