The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola,(SAN) has appealed for patience, orderliness and the cooperation of motorists as rehabilitation and reconstruction work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway progresses.
Fashola appeal was issued on Sunday on the heels of an explanation given for ongoing delay with the job by the contracting firm, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc,handling the Lagos end of the road.
Julius Berger had said that the rehabilitation work on its long bridge section which required the complete scraping off and replacement of the asphalt surface (technically called Milling) and replacement of the expansion joints necessitated the partial restrictions on the bridge.
Apparently giving an insight into its tight work schedule concerning the bridge, the Contractors stated that the two main lanes currently under construction will be completed by the end of August while work on the various other “narrow lanes” would be spread over the next four months for final delivery by middle of December.
It subsequently appealed that the job being a very challenging programme which also depended on the weather condition during the period, would no doubt require the cooperation of all stakeholders.
Julius Berger Nigeria PLC resumed work on the expressway after moving away from the site for over 12 months, due to what it termed non-payment for work done by the previous administration.
But first on the strength of assurances given that they would be paid and eventually after the settlement of outstanding bills by the Federal Government, the contractor began full re-mobilization procedure which is currently being concluded with full action scheduled to commence from this week.
However, even while the full re-mobilization was ongoing, the contractor began the rehabilitation of the long bridge section of the road by scraping off the asphaltic surfacing (milling), removing the expansion joints and replacing same with new ones and preparing the bridge for new asphalt.
One half of the Lagos bound section of the bridge was therefore blocked to traffic with the use of median crash barriers which allows for only two normal vehicles to pass at the same time.
However, as some articulated vehicles either move slowly or breaks down, traffic backlog developed which eventually result in chaotic traffic situation when some motorists attempt to overtake even within the narrow space.
Appealing for patience, support and orderliness on the part of motorists, Fashola urged them to bear with the Federal Government and Contractors, as the current temporary discomfort will eventually lead to a safer and smoother motoring experience when the reconstruction work is completed.
The Minister has in the meantime noted that in view of the traffic experience of the past two days, the Contracting firm has been working to adjust the barriers backwards to make more room for traffic to move faster adding that in collaboration with other stakeholders, work was ongoing on the repairs of an alternative route to which smaller vehicles will be diverted.