The Federal Government (FG) has disclosed that some sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway would be closed for four months for reconstruction by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. The road has been under construction since the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
The FG had postponed the reconstruction of the road in the past, but the possibility of another postponement has been ruled out. The closure is expected to begin next month, from August 3 and end in November.
Completion of the reconstruction has continued to drag because of contract issues between President Jonathan’s administration and Bi-Courtney Consortium. Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and RCC Nigeria Ltd were later contracted by the former President. The 127.6 kilometres road is the busiest in Nigeria, with more than 250,000 vehicles plying the road daily.
The problem with the August closure is that many people who have plans to travel for the Sallah holiday and other religious activities through the road may be worried. Also, most of the Churches in Nigeria have their Headquarters or Camps located along the road, and revivals are often held during the closure period. So in order to avert heavy traffic in that route, many have urged the FG to postpone the closure.
Why the closure now? Speaking in an interview, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr. Adedamola Kuti, said further delay or postponement would affect the delivery date of 2021.
He also noted that the plan of the government is to end the reconstruction of the partial section before Christmas when traffic is expected to be heavier on the road.
“What we are doing is to finish the project before Christmas when more people will be travelling. We are not closing the road totally. We are providing routes where people will follow and once everyone is patient, everything will go well.”
Also speaking on the reconstruction, Ogun Sector Commander of the FRSC, Clement Oladele, said, “The project is expected to be delivered by 2021 and any further postponement will affect the date.
“Our plan is to make sure we reduce the discomfort that motorists are expected to face. It is a huge challenge to them and to us as enforcement agents as well but we are setting up camp in the area. We are bringing in personnel from other parts of Ogun State and some from Lagos State to help with traffic control.”
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Alternative routes: Motorists have been urged to ply Lagos-Ota-Itori-Abeokuta and Ikorodu-Sagamu roads during the closure period as alternative routes.
It was also revealed that work is on-going under the Ogun River Bridge at the popular Kara Cattle Market in order to provide more alternatives for motorists during the four months period.
Oladele stated that the personnel would be on a 24-hour patrol during the period.