FG votes N3bn for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation

By The Citizen

The Federal Government plans to spend N3bn on the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway this year.

The amount, according information obtained from the website of the Budget Office of the Federation, has been provided for in the 2013 budget.

A breakdown of the figure shows that N1.5bn is earmarked for the first section of the road from Lagos to the Sagamu Interchange, while the balance is for the other section from the interchange to Ibadan.

This has thus put on hold the initial plan to offer the 125 kilometre road to a concessionaire for reconstruction, modernisation and regular maintenance.

The Federal Government in November last year terminated its concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited for the reconstruction of the road, accusing the firm of undue delay and a breach of the concession agreement.

It immediately appointed Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and RCC Limited to take over the rehabilitation work.

While Julius Berger was asked to handle the section from Lagos to the Sagamu Interchange, RCC was given the second leg of the road, stretching from the interchange to Ibadan.

A source at the Federal Ministry of Works told our correspondent on the telephone on Thursday that the government was currently fine-tuning discussion with Julius Berger and RCC on the rehabilitation contracts.

The source said the two contractors were invited last year after the concession agreement with Bi-Courtney was terminated just to recover the road and improve its poor state ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities.

'They are spelling out the details of the contract in terms of the scope, duration and contract sum,' the source said, but failed to give the termination date for the job.

Julius Berger had moved to the site last year, shortly after Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen's announcement of the termination of the concession arrangement with Bi-Courtney.

The contractor did some remedial work between the Redemption Camp and the Sagamu Interchange.

Although Julius Berger gave an impression that it was coming to do a major work, moving workers and materials to site as well as creating some work yards, it, however, scrapped some areas of the road and left them unattended to.

An official of the company, who volunteered to speak with our correspondent on the telephone under the condition that his name would not be mentioned, said the firm did exactly what it was asked to do.

He also said as soon as the company was fully paid or substantially mobilised, it would return to work, adding, 'The ball is in the Federal Government's court.'

Our correspondent could, however, not confirm if RCC had done any repair work on its section of road since the place was handed over to the firm.

The original plan was for a total reconstruction of the existing carriageways from Lagos to Ibadan, with the provision of two additional lanes in each direction between Lagos and the Sagamu Interchange, making it four lanes; and one additional lane from the interchange to Ibadan, in addition to the provision of associated modern facilities such as trailer parks.

Those facilities are meant for free flow of traffic, security and welfare of road users, Punch