FG calls for caution as work begins on Kara axis Monday
The Director, Federal Highways, South West, Funsho Adebiyi, during an inspection of the expressway yesterday in Lagos, said that there was the need to sensitise motorists on upcoming major diversions on sections between Berger and Kara Bridge, where reconstruction will begin on Monday.
Besides, the contractor reconstructing the Berger-Sagamu corridor of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Julius Berger has assured motorists of smooth and traffic-free movement on the axis.
Recall that the contractor had earlier scheduled partial closure for repairs beginning from Saturday, August 3 to enable the construction company, Julius Berger, to work on a stretch of 1.4km between Berger and Kara Market.
Motorists had expressed worry over the partial closure of the road during Sallah and the annual convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
The director, who led a delegation of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing officials as well as traffic regulatory agencies, appealed to road-users to comply with diversion and traffic rules.
He said that major lanes had been rehabilitated to curb gridlock, and construction on the section would begin on Sept. 2.
According to him, major construction works on the highway will be completed latest by December 15.
He appealed to motorists to observe speed limits around the construction zones, obey diversion signs and bear the temporary inconvenience that comes with the construction.
“We have instructed our contractors to make adequate signage available, as well as lightening systems, reflective materials, and other diversion signs to cope with night trips.
“I want to beg that all road-users should please comply with these simple rules, drive safely, drive slowly, especially around diversions.
“To people who live around here, we want to appeal to them, definitely traffic will be increasing, please tolerate us, accept us for this moment. It is difficult to construct a road of this nature without any discomfort,’’ he said.
Adebiyi explained that work was ongoing simultaneously on various sections of the highway beyond Lagos to fast track construction on the important highway.
He said that arrangements had been made for adequate towing vehicles, with all relevant traffic agencies, for speedy clearance of breakdowns, to avert gridlock on the highway.
Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), Hygenus Omeje, said the Lagos Command was coordinating and working in synergy with other traffic regulatory agencies to ensure free-flow of traffic.
Omeje said that the section to be worked upon was just about 600 metres and was not enough to cause too much stress for road users.
“The only thing is that we are in the critical section of this corridor. The Kara Bridge is like the neck to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. So if you twist the neck, the entire body will definitely have a problem.
“But I can assure you that nobody is going to sleep in this section. There is going to be the adequate deployment of personnel and resources,’’ he said.
He said the FRSC had three heavy towing trucks and would call for more, if there was a need, from sister agencies to ensure the free flow of traffic.
Ogun State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Clement Oladele, said that security meetings were held concerning the highway to ensure the safety of road-users during construction.
He warned miscreants to stay away, as the FRSC would not take it easy with criminal elements.
Speaking with The Guardian, Head, Media Relations, Julius Berger Plc, Moses Duku, said the company is committed to making things easier for motorists and communities.
Duku explained that the busyness of the road and the change of design were part of the constraints in the postponement of the delivery date. Hence, he said the company will deliver the project before the completion date.
Besides, the construction company recently changed its design for the project with plans to construct service lanes, bus stops and lay bays on the built-up areas along the express road.
The new features, it was learned, are part of the new design approved by the Federal Government to nip in the bud traffic congestions on the stretch of the road, which is the busiest road in Africa.
Apart from the service lanes, bus stops, and laybys, The Guardian learned that the interchange planned for Lotto area of the road was part of efforts to decongest the road.
Before now, there have been concerns over lack of bus stops and lay bays on the finished section with residents and commuters fearing that it might not solve traffic bottleneck associated with the road.
Duku, who reacted to The Guardian’s report on, ‘Lagos-Ibadan expressway: Between RCC’s pace and Julius Berger’s chaos’, said: “We cannot reduce the standard and the quality of what we are doing on Lagos Sagamu Expressway to make people who want us to do it quickly and get out happy.”
He said Lagos Ibadan Expressway is one of the busiest trunk roads in the country. In economic terms, if the road is built today and falls apart next year, it is going to have an effect on the economy of the entire country but most of all, of the Southwest region.
“We are going to build the road with the same confidence and assurance, with which we did the Abuja airport. We don’t want to build the Lagos-Sagamu Expressway with any rush with a view to making a haste proponent. “We when embarking on a project or road, we want our signature of excellence to remain on it. It is the only way we know.”
Speaking on the delivery date, he said: “We will deliver it before 2021, if it is written that the completion will be by December 31, we will deliver before the date. This is our history.
Duku explained that the entirety of the engineering construction industry in Nigeria is rooted in funding and sometimes communities.
“If communal unrest on the project against the government or the company is eliminated or removed and funding is guaranteed, we will deliver the project before the end date of completion.”
However, the rescheduled repairs are expected to begin on Monday, September 2, while the motorist is advised to be cautious while plying the route.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) had recently advised the general public, especially motorists, to use alternative corridors like the Epe/Ajah – Ijebu – Ode, Lagos – Ota – Itori – Abeokuta, and Ikorodu – Sagamu roads.
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