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Jonathan inaugurates reconstruction of N167 billion Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

By The Rainbow
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After many years of foot dragging and inaction over the reconstruction of the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday flagged off the multi billion naira, 127.8km road.

The President disclosed that the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was withdrawn from the Bi Courtney company due to evidence of non-performance by the construction firm.

The new companies awarded the reconstruction are Julius Berger Plc and Reynold Construction Company,( RCC) at the cost of N167 billion. The road is expected to be concluded in 2017.

The 127.6-kilometre project worth about N167 billion commences at Ojota Interchange through Sagamu junction, Ogere in Ogun State and terminates at Ojoo in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Section of the project consist of the reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan Dual Carriageway from Lagos-Shagamu with a total length of 43.6 kilometres.

It commences at Old toll gate in Oregun/IKosi-Ketu, Lagos terminating at Sagamu Interchange in Ogun State.

The second aspect involves the reconstruction of Lagos-Ibadan Carriageway from Shagamu -Ibadan. It commences at Sagamu interchange in Ogun State and terminates at Ojoo interchange in Oyo State covering a total length of about 84.0 kilometres.

The expressway is also a major artery that connects Lagos to other states of the federation and forms part of the Trans-Saharan Highway that links Lagos on the Atlantic Ocean, to Algiers on the Mediterranean Sea.

President Jonathan described the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as the first dual Carriageway in the country, having been constructed 35 years ago. 'This road is therefore of great socio-economic importance not only to Nigeria, but the entire sub-region,' he said.

The President, who underscored the high volume on traffic on the road, said at least 250,000 vehicles ply the road on a daily basis, adding that it was in recognition of such economic importance that he previous administration, 'in good fate' in 2009, entered into a concession agreement with a concessionaire as a premier public-private partnership scheme in the road sector in Nigeria.

'However, four years later and due to non-performance by the concessionaire which resulted in recurring fatal accidents, unprecedented traffic jams, security breaches, compromised public health and safety and the continued outcry on the state of disrepair of this road, the concession agreement was terminated in May, 2012.

'As a responsible government, we had to intervene immediately in order to ameliorate the hardship faced by the public on his road. Consequently, we had to deploy two reputable road construction companies to carry out emergency repair works on the road to ease the free flow of traffic and at the same time, we commenced the process of procuring the contracts for full reconstruction and expansion of the road', he said.

Jonathan pledged commitment to the timely completion of all road projects  by  making adequate arrangement for their funding.

'In addition to the annual budgetary location for the projects, this administration has commenced negotiation with Infrastructural Bank Plc to complement the federal government's contribution to the project. With this arrangement, funding is assured and the projects can be completed as scheduled'.

The president however admitted that there would be great inconvenience to road users during the period of the execution of the contracts and appealed to them to bear the situation since at the end, it would be to their advantage.

Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, in his remarks, commended the president for his personal involvement in ensuring that the road project was brought to the front burner.

He, however appealed to the president to intervene in the rehabilitation of the 25- kilometre Shagamu-Ogijo-Mosinmi-Ikorodu road where petroleum products are being transported to all parts of the country.

The second road which he sought the president's intention is the 36-kilometre Papallanto where the Olorunsogo Power Plant is located. He said the situation of the road is so bad that a journey of about 15 minutes takes about two hours.

He said because of the strategic location of the state as the centre to the socio-economic location not only to the South West, but to the entire country, the state government had spent over N200 billion on road projects that are essentially owned by the federal government.