• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Apapa-Oshodi Expressway: FG blames contractor, election for failure to deliver trailer park

Businesses heave sigh of relief as Apapa-Oshodi Expressway breathes again

Contrary to expectations and Federal Government’s earlier promise that the Trailer Park being constructed along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway would be delivered by the end of last month to save road users the stress and suffocation on the road, these road users have more days and months to endure as the park could not be delivered after all.

The Federal Government explained to BusinessDay that the park could not be delivered as scheduled because of funding and the ongoing electioneering campaign which has sent governance and government activities on holiday.

“The contractor is also part of the problem”, Godwin Eke, controller of works, South West zone, added, explaining that the contractor was asking for parkmore work when it was yet to deliver the park.

“We have requested to take over the park but the contractor is asking for additional work like fencing the park”, he said, pointing out that finalising the leasing agreement with Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) was another factor delaying the delivery of the park.

The contractor told BusinessDay in a telephone interview that the problem of the park was with the government. “Nobody is talking to us from the ministry; we don’t know anything about when the park is to be delivered and put to use”, Franco Borini, an engineer with Borini Prono, the Italian contractor handling the construction of the park, said.

Borini said funding was a major problem as, according to him, “the government is not releasing money to us most of the time even though we are still on site working. We were on site up to yesterday (Tuesday) but today we are not. And there are still some work to be done there”, he said.

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Eke appealed to motorists, port users and other stakeholders to bear with the government, assuring that once the elections were over and the leasing agreement with RTEAN for the management of the park was finalised, the park would be completed and put to use.

The trailer park, which is expected to take away from the expressway about 320 trailers, is being constructed by Borini Prono as part of the contract for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the expressway being handled by Julius Berger, the German construction giant.

The park has an accompaniment of a bridge meant to serve and end in it. All trucks coming into the park will have to turn from the Liverpool roundabout and climb the bridge into the park. Interestingly, the bridge has been completed.

Apapa-Oshodi Expressway is one road that is as important as it is economically strategic, being a major gateway to Nigeria’s busiest sea ports from which billions of government revenue come, yet the only major road leading to these revenue spinners is a pain in the neck for motorists.

The expressway has become famous for the bad reason with its crippling traffic jam that keeps motorists for hours during which period they navigate through tankers and trailers mindlessly and indiscriminately parked on the expressway by their drivers.

In 2010, it took a sustained media campaign to draw the attention of both Federal and Lagos State government to the expressway, leading to the award of contract in November of the same year for the seemingly interminable reconstruction and rehabilitation work on the expressway.