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Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Second Niger Bridge to be ready by December – Fashola

Nigerians planning to travel during Christmas may have better road experience as the federal government is set to complete the Second Niger Bridge and open it for use.

Work on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway will also be completed before Christmas, according to Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing.

Speaking on Sunday in an interview on Channels Television, Fashola said “We’re planning also before Christmas to open that (Second Niger Bridge) to public for use, because that’s when there’s a large movement. Hopefully by Christmas, it should also be open. That was the last meeting I had with the contractor I think about three weeks ago. There are challenges of course, as you might know, but the main bridge deck is finished,” Fashola said.

He also said the roads will be tolled, noting that the completion date for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was subject to challenges that have slowed down work.

“The expected completion date now will be in the last month of this year. We are hoping that we will be done before Christmas and that is subject to a lot of variables,” Fashola said.

As we speak now, somewhere between Ojo, the Oyo state government is constructing a drilling facility. So, that has slowed our work considerably, in spite of the fact that the contractor is now working at night. So, just two days ago, Governor Makinde and I were talking because I called him a week ago that look, we need to make a choice, which do you prioritise the drainage or that road? And he said the road is what affects, but we can’t dismiss the need for the drainage.

“So, he called me back to say look, he has a solution now. He’s worked with the contractor, talked to them and we’ll discuss it in this new way. So, these are some of the challenges.”

Fashola, who hinted at the situation of the road prior to the current administration, said the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was in a terrible condition.

According to him, part of the reason the project had taken this long was because of a lack of funding from past governments.

“Let me also say that over the years, at the time, we took $2 billion to go and pay creditors in 2005 this road was bad. People used to sleep on it. So let us dimension that completion. The road is built in sections. That road has no less than 40,000 vehicles every day that’s the traffic road count that we did, so you can’t close it down. So, what we do is to close sections of one side, divert traffic to the other side. Complete about 10/20 kilometers and then reopen it and move traffic back,” he said.

“Now what you might not know and it is important to share this the construction material likely comes from Ogun state. So, whether you’re constructing the Lagos section or the Oyo section, you have to go and move laterite cross tools, and all of that, they move in the same traffic. So, thousands of daily truck trips.

“And that road is being excavated to about a meter or more deep, so,  we’re essentially first removing bad material from unsuitable material, filling up and then constructing the road. So, I don’t think it is slow. What has happened is that over the years government has not funded it sufficiently.

“So, we factored it this year subject to some of these challenges that I’ve told you. Governor Makinde and I will resolve that pretty soon.”

Fashola, while admitting that the road will be tolled, said it will eventually be “handed over to the concessionaires who NSA is talking to to bring in more financing.”

According to him, the road will “two to three” tolling plazas.

“One on the Lagos end, one in the Ogun end. And I think the other one, in Ibadan which is what we used to have there before traditionally,” he added.

Meanwhile, speaking on the completion date for the Second Niger Bridge, the minister assured Nigerians that the road would be opened for use by December 20222.

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