There are indications that the 2021 planned delivery date for the ongoing reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be shifted again.
Following the stoppage of work on the project after the Federal Government announced a lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Although officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and one of the two contractors handling the work, Julius Berger, have gradually been returning to the project site since Monday, no serious work has commenced.
The Director, Federal Highways, South-West, FMWH, Adedamola Kuti, told our correspondent on Friday that if there was a need for extension as a result of the impact of the lockdown, the contractor(s) would have to apply for such extension.
He said, “The fact is that the lockdown stopped a lot of activities, even now as we speak, we’ve not fully mobilised because we have a lot of expatriates who are associated with the project and are unable to come back.
“Some of them just went on leave but with this lockdown, they cannot come back. Also, there are some materials that might be required from outside the country.”
Kuti, however, added, “I am not saying for sure now; we will see whatever can be done. We are still on track and we will see what happens. When we get to the bridge we will know how to cross it.
“If we discover that there will be a need for extension, the contractor will apply for that. But that is only if we find out that there is a cogent need for it to be extended.”
Julius Berger is handling the 43km Lagos to Sagamu while Reynoid Construction Company takes charge of Sagamu-Ibadan end.
The project, which started in 2013, initially meant to be completed in 2017 but was reviewed with additional features and a new date of 2021 was agreed on.
Julius Berger and officials of the works ministry had moved out of site after the Federal Government declared a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja about two months ago.
It was gathered in Abuja on Friday that the contractor started mobilising to site on Monday after the Federal Government partially lifted the lockdown in the affected states.
Kuti said that construction workers were now grouped as essential workers, a development that made it possible for them to move back to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project site.
He said, “We are back to site. We moved back to site on Monday and, of course, as we are moving back, the whole process goes on gradually. The contractor too moved back to site on Monday.
“We are on the essential list now after the May 4, 2020 resumption that was announced following the weeks of complete lockdown. So they (government) allowed those in the construction sector to also work.
“So we are back as essential workers now. The contractor resumed work on Monday and the contractor is Julius Berger.”
Asked when work would fully resumed at the project site, the highways director stated that equipment being used for the construction process was currently being serviced on site.
Kuti said, “The contractor has gone back to site and I think they are just moving back to prepare, because with this kind of situation that you left site you will have to service your equipment, clean the machines, among other things.’’
“This is because it is a project that you have left for a while. So you will need to do some machine cleaning, warming and servicing for immediate work. Those are the things that you may be seeing now.
“But of course the equipment is being moved back to the project site and work will definitely commence once these machines are set to deliver.”
Julius Berger had returned to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in January this year and was working on its contract location before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown that followed.
The PUNCH had reported in November 2018 that Julius Berger stated that the Sagamu-Lagos end of the expressway would be completed by 2021.
Source: News update