Seven firms shortlisted for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway reconstruction

By The Citizen

Seven construction firms have been shortlisted for the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

This is coming at a time that the traffic situation at several bad portions of the road has worsened due to the advent of the rains. And as the condition of the road continues to deteriorate, gridlock has become a constant feature on both sides of the highway.

The names of the shortlisted firms, according a source at the Federal Ministry Works, have been sent to the Bureau of Public Procurement for ratification.

The source said the BPP was expected to issue a certificate of no objection, which would clear one or two of the construction companies for the project.

'Once the BPP has issued the certificate of no objection, the ministry will present the name(s) of the contractors to the Federal Executive Council for final approval,' the source said.

Although the cost of the reconstruction could not be ascertained at press time, it was learnt that the Federal Government would fully fund the project.

The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, had last year announced the termination of the concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Highway Services for the reconstruction of the 125-kilometre road, accusing the firm of serially breaching the terms of the contract signed by it and the Federal Government on May 26, 2009 under the late President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and RCC Nigeria Limited were immediately hired to take over the job. The former was given the Lagos-Sagamu Interchange end, while the latter got the section between the interchange and Ibadan.

However, their remedial work was only to prepare the road for the high volume of traffic during the 2012 Christmas and the New Year festivities.

Since the two contractors withdrew from the road at the beginning of this year, motorists and commuters have been encountering serious gridlock and have been exposed to avoidable accidents and robberies following the deplorable state of the road.

But the ministry said it had to return to the drawing board to prepare a fresh design for the road and get contractors to bid in line with due process guidelines.

The minister had said on a television programme monitored in Lagos last week that the new design would incorporate a fly-over at the Redeemed Camp area to reduce traffic jam.

He said, 'We plan to construct a flyover around the area where we have a number of churches, which usually lead to bottleneck, particularly around the Redeemed Church.

'We have now introduced a flyover around there to separate the traffic to the church and the thorough traffic that is traversing from Lagos to other states. That is going to solve the problem around the Redemption Camp permanently.'

Onolememen also said, 'We opened the bids (for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway) last year and we have finally analysed the bids and they have gone to the Bureau of Public Procurement for letter of no objection.

'Once we receive the letter of no objection from BPP, the project will be awarded and Nigerians will once again see contractors in full swing.'

Under the Design, Build, Operate and Transfer agreement with Bi-Courtney was expected to refurbish the road with N89.53bn and collect tolls on it for 25 years in order to recoup its investment.

The scope of work involved the provision of two additional lanes in either direction between Lagos and the Sagamu Interchange, making it four lanes; the provision of associated facilities for the security and welfare of road users, as well as ensuring a free flow of traffic. (Punch)