TheFederal Government’s efforts to redevelop infrastructure in Apapa, Lagos State, coupled with private sector involvement to reconstruct a section of the road within the corridor, will boost the economy.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola, made the submission last week while inspecting some projects in Lagos State.
“There is need for total regeneration of roads and other infrastructure in Apapa, which houses the nation’s major ports, to boost the nation’s economy. We are battling to restore Liverpool Road and the bridge, this road must not collapse; it would shut down the country,” Fashola said.
He noted that if Liverpool Road, which leads to the Tin Can Island Port, and the Nigeria Ports Authority, and Funsho Williams Road are lost and not kept in proper shape, it would be tantamount to having shut down the nation.
His ministry, he said, is 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 have been inadequately maintained for about 40 years.
Fashola, who was on an inspection of the Apapa-Wharf Road reconstruction, said President Muhammadu Buhari was happy with the financiers of the two-kilometre road project: AG Dangote Construction Company, Flour Mills of Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Ports Authority. “President Buhari appreciates the gesture,’’ he said.
An engineer with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing supervising the road project, Mrs. Korede Keisha, explained that the work would have advanced beyond the present state but for the contractors’ inability to relocate some gas pipes found underneath the road, which were too expensive to move. Keisha revealed that this development made the contractors to shift the road to about one metre away from the gas pipe.
A former Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation and consultant to AG Dangote Construction Company Limited on traffic management, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, explained that a collaboration on the traffic management plan was helping the firm to surmount gridlock and free the site for construction. He, however, lamented the activities of unorganised port operators, accusing them of causing congestion on the road with their trucks.
The inspection tour, which began from the National Stadium, Surulere, spanned through Alaka to the Apongbon Bridge, and outer Marina.
On the Alaka Bridge, Fashola instructed his team of engineers, led by Director, Federal Highways, Southwest, Mr Emmanuel Adeoye, to expedite action on the replacement of vandalised manhole covers. They are also to reconstruct some drainage and unblock drainage channels connecting a major canal in front of the National Theatre, Iganmu to solve flood problem, which is said to be a major cause of the persistent road degeneration in the area.
He appealed to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Project Manager, Mr Vaknin Harel, whose firm is handling the rehabilitation of Funsho Williams Road up to Ijora Bridge, to hasten work.
Fashola urged RCC to endeavour to finish the reconstruction work before the next rainy season, considering the fact that the entire stretch of the road sits on swampy land. He also mandated the contractor to replace vandalised bridge railings on the axis with concrete.
Harel explained that RCC was patching potholes caused by flooding, as well as filling the road with more durable materials to asphalt stage, to make it last longer.
Inspecting the street lights both under and above the Ijora and Funsho Williams Avenue bridges, the Minister directed his engineers to liaise with the state Rural Electrification, to replace all the lights. “If there are new solar technologies, adopt them. It is a total regeneration of this Apapa area that we want,’’ he said.
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