|File photo: Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari|
The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on Monday officially inaugurated the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road.
Ministry officials led an inspection tour of the road from the Ile Zik bus stop in Lagos to Ota in Ogun State and back to Ile Zik again, for the official flag off.
However, Julius Berger has begun rehabilitation works around the Sango Ota area.
NAN observed workmen using earth moving equipment, excavators and grading machines to lay construction materials in the inner lane around Joju bus stop area on the Ota bound carriageway in Ogun.
The ministry officials conducted journalists round the construction works to explain the scope of work on site.
Briefing journalists at Ile Zik, the Director, Federal Highways, South West, Olalekan Busari, said that the road had been neglected by previous administrations before its award this month.
“On May 18, 2018 proactively, this administration awarded the contract for the total rehabilitation of the road starting from Ile Zik bus stop at kilometre zero, up to kilometre 80 in Ogun State, that is, the brewery,’’ he said.
Mr Busari explained that the project was divided into two sections, the first section which starts from Ile Zik in Lagos spans about 20 km, while the second section which falls in Ogun State, is 60km.
“It is a complete total rehabilitation of the entire road this time around and it is awarded at N22.387 billion and the contract period of two and half years which we hope the contractor will actually deliver.
“They (Julius Berger) have the capacity and the federal government is very determined to properly fund this road project so as to deliver it on time,’’ he said.
Giving a brief history of the highway, he said that the project had suffered several setbacks in the past but that the Buhari administration was resuscitating it as part of its mandate to deliver infrastructure to Nigerians.
He explained that the project started in 1999, with the first contract awarded in 2000.
“The first section was to rehabilitate the Ota-Abeokuta section which was awarded to Julius Berger in 2009.
“It was awarded at the sum of N11.6 billion. However, due to lack of funding, the project dragged on, until 2010 that it was completed at a contract price of N14.6 billion.
“Addendum 2 was awarded in 2006 consisting of the rehabilitation of the constructions of the fly over at Ota and the construction of the roundabout, as well as the strengthening of the Lagos-Ota road at a sum of N9.6 billion that time.
“The contract was eventually partially completed in 2010. In 2011, Section 3, Phase 3 was awarded at a contract sum of N10.6 billion.
“The scope of work was to complete the work on the section on phase two which is the construction of the fly over, as well as construction of the crash barriers and the strengthening of the Lagos Road.
“It was awarded in 2011 at a contract sum of N10.6 billion due to delay in the execution of the project and lack of funding by the previous administration.
“The job started and was stopped in again in 2012, basically due to lack of funding and lack of priority,’’ he said.
Mr Busari said that the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road was important to the socio-economic development of the South West and the entire nation, as well as the link to the Republic of Benin.
While fielding questions from journalists, Mr Busari said that Julius Berger had been given 15 per cent of the contract sum and promised that the federal government would not delay payments to the contractor.
Mr Wolfgang Loesser, Julius Berger’s West Division Manager, said that the firm was carrying out repairs of bad portions of the highway to ease gridlock, pending the major rehabilitation works.
“On Saturday, there was rain and cars were floating away because there is no drainage at the Ota end, so we began the rehabilitation works,” he said.
The Federal Controller, Works, Lagos, Adedamola Kuti and the Federal Controller, Works, Ogun, Olukayode Popoola, both said they had measures in place for traffic management and diversions, to reduce the hardship of road users.