Fashola laments degeneration of Apapa roads
…calls for total regeneration of roads, infrastructure to Nigeria’s major ports
By Kingsley Adegboye
AGAINST the backdrop of colossal degeneration to which access roads in and out of Apapa, Lagos, have been subjected, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has called for total regeneration of these roads and other road infrastructure such as lightings, man holes and railings in Apapa. The axis serves both Apapa and Tin Can ports, the two major ports that boost the nation’s economy.
Fashola who lamented the neglect and vandalisation of Apapa roads and their infrastructure, said the situation of the roads had become this deplorable because they had not been maintained in the last 30 years while vandals had taken advantage of their neglect to vandalise and steal the man holes and stainless railings on them.
While stressing that the roads and their infrastructure were meant to serve Nigerians, he said there was no reason Nigerians should be vandalising and stealing things that are done with tax payers’ money and meant to serve the interest of the general public.
The minister who spoke while inspecting ongoing road projects in Apapa, weekend, said while the federal government was battling to restore Liverpool Road and the bridge, the Ijora dual carriageway which is under rehabilitation road must not collapse. He noted that its collapse would shut down the country because of its importance to the ports in Apapa.
Blocked drainage channels
Fashola, therefore, called on the construction company handling the rehabilitation works on the road, (RCC) to ensure reconstruction of blocked drainage channels connecting a major canal in front of the National Theatre, Iganmu, to solve flood problem causing persistent road degeneration in the area. He said, “This road has suffered so much degeneration.
If you have to do the drainage and construct some box culverts to keep the drainage flowing, please do it. If we lose Liverpool Road that connects to the Tin Can Island Port and the Nigeria Ports Authority, and this place, Funsho Williams Road, we would have shut down the nation.
I appeal to you Mr. Vaknin Harel, because you are the project manager of Reynolds Construction Company RCC, handling the rehabilitation of Funsho Williams Road to the Ijora Bridge to speed up the work.”
The minister who disclosed that the entire stretch of the road was on swampy land, stressed the need to complete the project before another rainfall, emphasising the replacement of the vandalised bridge railings on the road with concrete. He directed his team of engineers to liaise with the relevant authorities to relocate the popular Costain Bus Stop on Funsho Williams Avenue, to check gridlock and persistent road degeneration.
In his response, RCC project manager, explained that RCC was filling several potholes caused by flooding, as well as filling the road with more durable materials to asphalt stage, to make the road last longer, adding that his company was using new materials that are different form the old ones used for the construction of the road. He said the culverts are blocked from beginning to end, pointing out that they have to construct new culverts.
At the Apapa Wharf Road reconstruction project, the Minister informed that President Muhammadu Buhari was happy with the financiers of the project: AG Dangote Construction Company, Flour Mills of Nigeria Ltd and the Nigerian Ports Authority, adding that the President appreciated the gesture.
Mrs. Korede Keisha, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing engineer supervising the project, explained that the project was being slowed down by the inability to relocate some gas pipes which relocation she said will cost some much while their owners were not ready to bear the cost.
She said,”We decided to shift the road by about one metre from the gas pipes, since the contractor, AG Dangote, cannot excavate for drains. They are excavating for just the road.”
Explaining the traffic situation since the commencement of the project, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, who is traffic consultant to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd on the project, said the collaboration on traffic management plan on the road, is helping the firm surmount the problem of gridlock, to free the site for construction.
Lamenting the activities of uncoordinated port operators which is causing congestion of trucks going into the ports, Opeifa said if the ports operators cooperated with the traffic plan on the road, there will be no problem regarding the timely completion of the project.
The Project Manager, AG Dangote Construction Company, Mr. Jimoh Tunde, while conducting the minister round some new equipment on site to facilitate the project said the machines were to ensure deep excavation for a solid foundation.
Briefing journalists, Fashola said that the ministry was working on making all roads in Apapa and its environs motorable because of the importance of the axis to the national economy, adding that the roads were inadequately maintenance for about 40 years.
The minister explained that he was doing his part just as his counterpart in the Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amechi, was working to revive the rails to make movement of cargo in and out of the ports easier.
Speaking on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Fashola explained that there is a virement proposal before the National Assembly for the appropriation of funds on the project.
He explained that the contractors are still being owed on the project but that the National Assembly was expected to solve the problem soon.”
“We have about N15 billion in unpaid certificates. We appeal to the media to intensify campaigns against stealing of manhole covers and vandalisation of other road furniture. The ministry is going to replace steel manhole covers which have been stolen with fibre. The vandals may not find it useful’’, Fashola noted.
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