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FG explains delays in Lagos – Ibadan Expressway completion

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Following the gradual ease of the Covid-19 lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari, the construction giant – Julius Berger Nigeria Plc may return to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway construction site in few days time.

The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria and Reynolds Construction Company Limited (RCC) at a sum of 167 billion naira, equivalent to $838,986,290 with a tentative delivery date of 2021.

The expressway is considered as one of the busiest roads in West Africa and works were on top gear to meet the deadline before the outbreak of the novel infectious disease with human to human transmission (COVID-19), that dealt a heavy blow on the pace of work.

Although, stakeholders had made case for an exemption of some construction firms from the recent Covid-19 lockdown to speed works on critical road projects across the country, government insistence for a total lock down to curtail the spread of COVID 19, led to the suspension of works on these roads.

The stakeholders had argued that the dry season provides favourable time for construction and the lockdown will prevent traffic in some of the critical road projects.

These critical road projects are often motorists’ nightmare especially during construction because of the high volume of traffic and their locations.

But The Guardian learnt that the delay might have been strategic to ensure that the workers do not contact the virus.

Director, Federal Highways, South West, Mr. Adedamola Kuti, said Julius Berger would have resumed works on the expressway, but delayed due to some procedures.

However, Kuti explained, there will be serious works on site this week.

He stressed that the COVID 19 pandemic affected everything all over the world and they were trying to be very careful because an ordinary labourer can just get the virus by just going to buy something.

“We are just looking at the best the way to restart works on the road. COVID -19 is a very dangerous, a situation, where even health workers have contacted it, those that are even trained. So every people just have to be careful but they have resumed,” he added.

Confirming this, a senior staff of the contractor, who pleaded for anonymity said Julius Berger is
following instructions.

According to him, there are government regulations on the resumption of works.

A resident at Ibafo, who gave his name simply as Olaide said it took Julius Berger about two weeks to restart work after the easing of the lock down.

Olaide, who is an engineer said such critical road should have been exempted in the first place if the government takes infrastructure provision very serious and the safety of the populace importance.

According to him, delaying for an additional two weeks is not a wise decision considering the impact of the construction works on the citizenry.

“You have to be careful how you bring in the workers because the regulation gave an estimate of the number of workers that should be on-site at a given time.

“We were working on these modalities, hence the delay”, he added.


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