• Road to be ready in 2021
The Federal Government temporarily opened the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway yesterday for the use of commuters.The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr. Adedamola Kuti, who officially removed the barricades, said the opening is to reduce travel time and ease the hardship suffered by road users, especially during the festive period.
He assured that work would resume on the road as quickly as possible in January, to enable the contractors maximise the window offered by the dry season.
The controller explained that the reconstruction of the expressway was facilitated from the Federal Government’s over $650 million infrastructure fund.
He said impediments on all junctions on the expressway have been removed to pave way for free flow of traffic, thereby reducing the pains and stress of motorists and commuters.
Kuti disclosed that the road would be delivered in 2021to accommodate its changing nature and additional work, including flyover, pedestrian bridges and toll plazas.
Also, Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun State, Clement Oladele, said despite the removal of the diversions, the entire area remains a construction zone.He urged motorists to restrict themselves within the 50km/hour maximum speed limit and the prohibition on overtaking in the construction zones.
Oladele warned that any defaulter apprehended risks prosecution, including the confiscation of their vehicles until after the celebrations in January.
With over 2 million road users and estimated 350, 000 vehicles for the yuletide, the sector commander said the 214 deaths encountered in third quarter of 2018 was attributable to diversion in construction zones.
The 127.6km long expressway is one of the oldest and busiest inter-state routes in the country. It daily handles more than 250,000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) and a major inter-state artery that networks the southwest and the rest of the country.
Commissioned in August 1978 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, during his first stint as the Head of State, the clamour for the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the expressway dates back to 1999, during Obasanjo’s second coming to presidency.
But the Federal Government in May 2009 awarded the contract to Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited (BHSL) at the cost of N91 billion and on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.The contract was terminated in November 2012 and former President Goodluck Jonathan, inaugurated the project afresh, with the contract awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited and Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Limited, for N167 billion.
The construction was to cover two sections of the expressway with a delivery date of December 2017.But, due to the non-release of funds to contractors, the project was stalled until the current administration started it again by remobilising the contractors with the completion date moved to end of 2018/early 2019.