• Monday, July 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

FG targets constructing 5,550km of roads in 36 states, FCT

Enugu-PH Expressway part of FG’s priority projects – Umahi

David Umahi, the minister of works, says the Federal Government is targeting to complete at least 150km of road in each of the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory in 12 months, totalling 5,550km.

To this end, the minister has charged all contractors working on federal roads to go back to sites and expedite efforts to complete all projects across the country.

Umahi, who directed all contractors handling federal highways across the country to adopt concrete technology said, “In 2024 going forward, some projects will still be on asphalt with the shoulders on concrete while some critical roads will be fully on concrete.”

The decision of the government on use of concrete was met with stiff resistance from contractors, stalling the completion of several road projects, including the Benin-Warri dual carriageway and Benin-Sapele sections 1-3 in Delta State, Maraba-Keffi road expansion in Nasarawa State, and Minna-Zungeru-Tegina-Kontagora road in Niger State amongst others.

The minister, making a policy reversal stressed the need for stakeholders to moderate the escalation of the product price, insisting that specific road projects will be constructed using concrete pavement.

“We have not banned the use of asphalt but we would have to moderate the escalation of asphalt prices. There are some places where we must make our roads fully on concrete and I won’t accept asphalt on those roads. This is very important.

“We have banned surface dressing on all our roads whether you are doing asphalt or full concrete, no more surface dressing. Because it doesn’t help. It is the source of failures on our roads,” he said.

Calling on contractors to return to sites, the minister assured that the government has made adequate provision of funds for the construction of roads in the 2024 budget.

“So, people who have monies allocated to them but are not on sites, we are going to take from your contract to pay those that are on sites. So, it is important that you take this seriously and know that the money allocated to you is no longer static, it can be moved to other contractors,” he added.

Speaking further, the minister reiterated that the president has directed that only qualified, registered and certified engineers will be allowed to work on construction sites. This according to him, will help check the activities of quacks and substandard works in the country.

He also noted that the construction of the Lokoja-Benin road project, Funtua, Sokoto and Zamfara roads have been isolated from other projects as ‘special projects’, and must be completed in due time.