Senate wants return of highway tollgates
The Senate yesterday reviewed the myriads of problems facing the development of road infrastructure in the country and submitted that the toll gate policy be immediately restored by the Federal Government.
Adopting the report of its Ad-hoc Committee on Works, which investigated the cause of the deteriorating state of road infrastructure, the upper chamber equally directed the Committee to meet with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on Concessioning and Public Private Partnership (PPP) to explore new methods of funding federal road projects.
The toll gate policy was stopped in 2004 when the then President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered demolition of toll gates erected on the country’s highways.
The Committee, headed by Senator Barnabas Gemade also recommended the rebuilding and constant maintenance of existing roads infrastructure as well as introduction of weigh bridges to protect roads.
The 15-man panel recommended investment in rail, air and waterways to act as alternatives to road transport, which would decrease traffic on the roads for longer lifespan. The panel also advocated for concrete roads instead of laterite roads in some parts of the country, especially in areas not suitable for bituminous pavement.
The Committee also observed that the yearly budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Works is not enough to construct major roads to international standard.
It expressed regret that most of the federal roads are below standard and cannot stand the test of time, blaming the trend on contractors who compromise standards.
“There should be proper and adequate planning of roads.
The short-term approach of yearly budgeting has proved ineffective, this promotes neglect of some of the roads. At times, when new government takes over, new programmes will be initiated and the ongoing projects are abandoned. If there is a policy that promotes long term planning, any government that comes will be bound to follow it”, the report read in part.
The Committee expressed its displeasure over poorly designed roads by federal engineers, while others were constructed without designs.
To reverse the trend, the panel recommended easier access to Ecological Funds by State of the Federation, review of Land Use Act as well as improved monitoring and implementation of intervention projects.