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FG to fast-track 4-hr travel time Lagos-Abuja road project

By Kehinde Olatunji
24 September 2023   |   4:03 am
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, yesterday, stated that President Bola Tinubu has asked him to fast track the proposed 470 kilometers Abuja-Lagos Greenfield superhighway, to be built by a private sector consortium at no cost to the government.

David Umahi

• Says Project Starts In Three Months
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, yesterday, stated that President Bola Tinubu has asked him to fast track the proposed 470 kilometers Abuja-Lagos Greenfield superhighway, to be built by a private sector consortium at no cost to the government.

Speaking in Lagos, Umahi said that the consortium will operate the facility for a yet-to-be-determined period on a build, operate and transfer deal, though it would be tolled at different points to enable the investors recoup their investment.

He assured that the four-and-a-half-hour travel time for vehicles plying the route at 100 kilometres per hour was achievable.

He said: “When I first introduced this to the public, many doubting Thomases were saying, ‘It is impossible. Lagos to Abuja done in 14 hours cannot be done in four and half hours.’ But that is the renewed hope of Mr President,” he said.

The minister explained that Tinubu approved that the project be fast tracked, with the contractor on site in three months.

Umahi said: “The president has approved that I fast-track this project, which would be two lanes, and each lane a two-carriage way.

“The only carriageway that is equivalent to this is the Third Mainland Bridge where each carriageway is 14 metres. It is going to be built on 275-millimetre thick concrete.

“The live-shelf design of this project is going to be 100 years. It is going to be completed within four years and this is doable. There are a number of bridges that will be built. There are a number of tolling points that are going to be there. We are not providing any kobo for the project, just assisting with direction.”

He explained that from Lagos, the road will pass through eight states in the Southwest and North central to Abuja. The states are Kogi, Ekiti, Oyo, FCT, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and Kwara.

He praised the private consortium behind the deal, Advance Engineering Company, saying he was “very satisfied with their concept and what they have put in place.”

Umahi added: “The next thing is to bring the business proposal so that we can negotiate the cost of the project. The good thing is that we are building this road on concrete so we can predict the cost. In asphalt, you cannot predict the cost. The cost of asphalt roads changes every month.

“Concrete roads are more durable and cheaper than asphalt and I have directed all ongoing projects that have not advanced up to 80 per cent to change the remaining to concrete.”

The minister added that plans were underway to make the road a business and industrial corridor with hotels, factories, and housing estates, among others, on the route.

Emphasising the seriousness of the project, Umahi said that the contract would be watertight such that if the consortium backed out unreasonably, it may have to pay a fine of $10m.

The chairman of the consortium, Kenny Martins, described the project as “the first of its kind in Africa”, saying it would be ICT-compliant with a fibre optic connection, solar-powered street lights and security points on the entire stretch of the road.

Martins said in Lagos, the route would begin from the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge in Epe to Abuja.