Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Seventeen years after construction began on Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway, the Federal Government has assured Nigerians that the Trunk A Road will be completed by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had awarded the road in 2002 and divided the highway into three lots. The first lot from Ibadan to Oyo and the third lot from Ogbomoso to Ilorin have been completed, while the second lot from Oyo to Ogbomoso was abandoned for many years.
Director, Highways, South West, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Funsho Adebiyi, gave the assurance in Ogbomoso when he addressed journalists after an inspection tour of the 53-kilometre Oyo-Ogbomoso lot of the dual carriageway, which is still under construction and being handled by Reynolds Construction Company (RCC).
The non-completion of the second lot has been forcing motorists to take the single-carriage old road between Oyo and Ogbomoso, which has resulted in many travellers’ death because it is a narrow road, dotted with potholes with many sharp and dangerous bends.
Adebiyi said Federal Government was committed to the speedy completion of Oyo-Ogbomoso section of the Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway, which is a subsection of a major trunk A1 road which begins from Apapa Wharf in Lagos and terminates in Sokoto State, adding that other ongoing road projects in the South West states had also been receiving priority attention.
He described the level of work done so far as of high quality and capable of standing the test of time, saying work had reached barely 50 per cent completion level.
”It is a function of funding, but we are trusting government because of it is committed to the speedy completion of all road projects. So, with the schedule of work programme on ground, hopefully by the end of 2020 and early 2021 it should be completed,” he said.
Adebiyi, however, raised the alarm that sand mining activities on the road alignment by some residents of Ogbomoso had been making earth-work difficult in the construction and thereby slowing down the work, saying what could have been used as earth-work had been mined off and the construction company was forced to bring in other materials from another burrowed pit to fill already mined alignment, ”thereby the cost of haulage is increasing the cost of our construction work.”
The director also disclosed that two construction workers were knocked down and killed by fast moving vehicles on the road pavement while four other workers were wounded when some unknown persons tampered with one of the bridges under construction.
He appealed to some motorists using completed sections of the road to be careful, drive cautiously, maintain lane discipline, avoid drunk-driving, utilise the road genuinely and obey traffic law generally, noting that there would be less problem if people were law abiding.
The Project Manager, RCC, Mr Yuri Visman, enjoined the government to provide adequate funding because it is the major factor in road projects, promising that the company would deliver quality job on Oyo-Ogbomoso section of the highway when completed.
On the sand mining activities on the road alignment by some residents of Ogbomoso, the Federal Controller of Works in Oyo State, Mr Godwin Ikebuaku, led his team and the Director, Highways, South West, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, to the palace of Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, on a courtesy visit, during which Adebiyi urged the monarch to prevail on his subjects that were carrying out sand mining on the new road alignment to desist, so as to ease the construction work.