By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
Hopes of motorists plying Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki-Ojota highway were on Sunday dashed by Federal Government, announcing that the road reconstruction will only be completed December 2020.
The Federal Government stressed that the delay is to ensure construction of a road that will last for another 40 years irrespective of the pressure it is subjected to.
Federal Government commenced the road reconstruction on Nov. 17, 2018, and since then, driving on the highway had become a huge nightmare for motorists even after Lagos State Government and other agencies teamed up with the apex government.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced the new completion date while inspecting rehabilitation works done on the highway on Sunday.
Fashola, who inspected the project alongside the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, stressed that Federal Government was committed to speedy completion of the project to provide a lasting solution to the problems of bad roads and gridlock.
The minister disclosed that section two of the project, which was not part of the original contract was already showing signs of failure, due to heavy traffic.
“We are at the Oshodi area now and one side has been concluded and opened to traffic and this is how we intend to continue to complete and open until we finish the entire road”.
He, however, appealed for motorist understanding as the project works go through curing process, saying President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate was to build long-lasting and enduring roads.
“We expect that by end of 2020 the entire road network will be finished, you will have a road that will last for 40 years”.
He said the road reconstruction was creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs and at the same time, advancing commerce because of the local content going into the work.
Fashola explained that the project was creating wealth with thousands of trucks conveying iron rods, cement, and other locally-sourced raw materials to sites where some 650 people were directly employed on various projects.
“Businesses have started coming back on Liverpool Road because the road closed earlier is now back. You will see more of that.
“All of the businesses that are shut on Creek Road will come back. We expect to see property redevelopment and property renewal once the road is completed.
“Once the economy of Apapa returns, all the clearing and forwarding, shipping, newspaper companies and all others doing business will resume fully and the economy will bounce back.’’
He commended the private-public partnership scheme with Dangote, expected to execute road construction from the Nigerian Ports Authority through various areas to the old Toll Gate at Ojota, near Lagos.