• Friday, April 19, 2024
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‘Concrete roads option is a reliable solution to infrastructure deficit’

Concrete-roads

Ashif Juma, Managing Director, AG-Dangote Construction Company Limited, says concrete roads option to asphalt roads is a reliable solution to infrastructure deficit, explaining that concrete roads can save  the government about 23 percent construction cost.

AG-Dangote Construction Company Limited, a joint venture between AG and Dangote Group, is a Brazilian company that specialises in construction and this partnership started in 2013 with the aim of becoming the biggest construction company in Nigeria.

Speaking during an assessment tour conducted on 23km concrete road constructed as part of corporate social responsibility of Dangote Cement between Ibese and Itori in Ogun State by the Nigerian Institution of Highway Engineers and members of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Juma hinted that concrete roads construction was the future of roads infrastructure development.

“I have spent almost two years in Nigeria; I think the concrete roads option would be the solution to its  infrastructure deficit. In our study, we found out that concrete was less expensive than asphalt, almost 23 percent. We have time frame for the project and we build concrete roads in less time”, he said.

Continuing, he said, “the important thing in Nigeria is about maintenance.‎ With concrete roads, you don’t need to spend so much money on maintenance. If you can see, in some countries that we built concrete roads like Brazil, Portugal and India, the roads can last for 40 years. So, it is a good option for Nigeria, after all, building concrete roads is the same way that you build the asphalt roads”.

He said that the road was built for the communit- Itori and Ibese- to give solution to the roads and solve the problems of the trucks, disclosing that they felt that if they built that kind of road, they would solve two problems, first for the community and also for the Dangote trucks.

On local raw materials and local engineers and artisans involved in the concrete roads construction as model for future roads construction in the country, Juma said all raw materials used were locally-sourced, except machinery, and 95 percent of  the workforce were Nigerians with only 5 percent expatriates.

“This is an important issue you raised. Those who built this road were Nigerians because we have almost 190 Nigerian people here working‎ and only nine or ten expatriates. This is important. What we are doing, we are not transferring technology as engineers because the Nigerians know how to do concrete. “The only  thing we are doing is training, hoping that in future, we can have less than 2 percent of expats. In my opinion, in the future, this road can be built from Nigeria. Concrete road costs almost $600,000‎ to $800,000 while asphalt roads cost almost $800,000 to $1 million per kilometre. But the important thing is that today, the concrete is less expensive, 23 percent than the asphalt”, he assured.

Speaking on challenges faced during the construction, Juma disclosed, “well, we learnt a lot in the concrete road construction because I think it is the first ‎biggest project that we have done here in Nigeria and the first challenge was the problem with some raw materials like aggregates. Also, in the beginning, when we brought some machinery into the country, we had some challenges.

“But I have to highlight that we built this concrete road, almost 25 kilometres, in six months. I don’t believe we have any company in Nigeria that can build this road in six months and for us, it is important. What we want to achieve in the next project is to build one kilometre, one lane per day. In this project, we achieved almost 850 metres‎ per day”, he said.

Isa Emoabino, Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Highway Engineers and leader of  the assessment team, assured that Nigerian engineers would support AG-Dangote Construction on the new initiative, saying Nigeria under Raji Fashola’s ministership would fix and maintain its roads.

“We were invited to look at the road; we have seen it, we are discussing with AG-Dangote. If you look at when we were going with him, we were discussing technical aspects of the road and we think we are going to work very closely with them to improve on certain areas that we have mentioned to them.

“The state of roads in the country as at now is highly deplorable. We believe Nigeria should be able to make, maintain and have better road networks; we believe the government is capable of doing that and we are looking out to see what the new government will do after the the budget is approved”, he said.

RAZAQ AYINLA