By John Ikani
Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has assured that the construction of the oldest expressway in the country – the lagos-Ibadan expressway, will be completed in December 2022.
Commissioned in August 1978 during the Military era, under the administration of Major-General Olusegun Obasanjo, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway connects Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State and Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.
In addition, the expressway is also the major route to the northern, southern and eastern parts of Nigeria. It is one of the busiest inter-state routes in Nigeria and constitutes one of the largest road networks in Africa.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics monitored by Heritage Times (HT), the minister said the Berger part of the 127 kilometres road which is being handled by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, has about 6km left to be completed, while the Ibadan part of the road, which is being handled by the Reynolds Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited, has 15km left to be completed.
While projecting a December deadline for the completion of the project, the former Lagos State governor said there was a challenge that had slowed down the pace of work in the Ibadan part of the road.
Fashola said the Oyo State government is constructing a drainage facility around the Ojoo part of the road, which, according to him, had significantly slowed down the pace of work in that area.
He, however noted that he was already in talks with the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, to resolve the challenge.
Return of toll gates and completion of the second Niger bridge
Speaking further Fashola said the Nigerian Government will return toll gates to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway upon completion of the rehabilitation of the highway.
According to him, at least a toll gate is expected in the Lagos, Ogun (Ogere) and Ibadan axis of the expressway when completed.
Unveiling government’s plan towards finishing the Second Niger Bridge project in the South-Eastern part of the country, the minister said the current administration also plans to open the bridge before Christmas, despite the challenges facing the project.
“We are planning also before Christmas to open that to the public for use because that is when there is a large movement.
“Hopefully, by Christmas, it will be opened. That was the last meeting I had with the contractor about three weeks ago.”
Fashola went on to note that he has directed the contractor to see that the project is delivered before the deadline, adding that the main bridge deck has been completed.