By Sarauniya Usman,Abuja
The dualisation of the Suleja -Minna road phase 1 has reached over 80 per cent completion says the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMWH) Mr Babangida Hussaini.
Hussaini said this at the routine inspection of the dualisation of the Suleja-Minna road phase I and II on yesterday in Minna, Niger state.
He was represented at the inspection by Director, Highway Construction and Rehabilitation, FMWH, Mr Funso Adebiyi,
His team was led by Federal Controller of Works, Niger state,Mr Felix Umeh.
According to Hussaini,the inspection is routine inspection of the project, establish quality assurance, measures as well as methods used.
“Giving the scope of the road,He said,Suleja to Abuja is about 95 kilometer road linking to Abuja Kaduna road, at about 27 kilometer fromAbuja towards Kaduna”.
“Because the project is broken into two, the first phase is phase I and it is to construct additional lane to an existing lane for the first 40 kilometer.
“Thee entire stretch was a one carriage lane before, but the traffic volume and the axel load necessitated the need for a second lane.
“So this second lane is what was awarded for phase one for the first 40kilometre. The 40 kilometer has gone far, also there are two interchanges one at the point where it leads to Abuja Kaduna way and another one along the way.
“And we have three Bridges that have been completed; these interchanges and the civil work is completed for the interchanges and they’re now constructing the earth work, while quantity work are all completed.
On progress made,”They have made significant progress on phase one they have attained about 80 per cent on phase one,” Hussaini said.
Explaining further he said the phase two is to construct the second lane to 95 kilometer and also rehabilitate the old alignment.
The permanent secretary said this was to ensure so that the old and the new roads would have the same pavement strength as well as the structural integrity to withstand the test of time.
“That one also is making significant progress,we are checking out the temperature of the harsh fill at the point of placement and it is at about 160 degree celcius even the stone base is being placed at layers of not more than 100mm.
Hussaini said he was satisfied with the work done and hopes it would be completed before the rains come down.
He said the phase I of the road is expected to be completed before the end of 2021 and the phase II by the end of 2022.
Speaking on the feasibility of the construction, meeting up with the time line the official said construction work must be done with quality assurance taking precedence.
On the socio-economic importance of the road the perm.sec. said the road was not just of economic importance but serves other pirposes.
“This road is not just of serious economic importance as you see the NNPC deport here but it is also a link to a truck A roads”.
“Earlier it was a busy roads in Nigeria because it was a major link from South to North before Abuja came about.
“Even at that the axel load here is quite heavy because of the movement of petroleum product, farming, and other commercial activities.”
Hussaini explaining further on the dualisation said the old alignment had been used for over 40 years the level of deterioration was beginning to show.
“if you want to construct a new lane it is just normal to reconstruct the old lane so that you end up having two brand new lanes and we are doing this across the nation.
Speaking on the challenges faced in the process of the construction, the perm. sec said, “there are challenges that is why they are on ground to solveit, “if the road was good enough we won’t be here.he said one of principal challenges they are faced with is that budgetary allocation is not enough to run this project.
“So the government in its own wisdom has designed alternative sources of funding and one of it is tax relief scheme, sukuk fund which is a kind of loan.
“They are channeled to address all these infrastructure works to make them available for the Nigerian people to use.
“We also have World Bank assisted, African Development Bank assisted, but I can assure you we are still sourcing for more funds because road construction anywhere in the world is an expensive venture.”
Also speaking the representative of the contractor Salini Nigeria Limited, Mr Daniel Kassa, noted some challenges faced at the site included trucks and trailers packing along Lanbata and along km 4 and some relocation issues round the interchanges of Maji and Diko, he added that they hope to finish before the rains come.
It would be recalled that construction work on the Suleja-Minna road commenced December 13, 2010 with a contract sum of N9,951,051,335.18.
Commuters commend the government for dualising the road and making travel time less stress and enjoyable.