The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that the Nigerian government will shut down the East-West Road on January 15 to resume construction.
The minister said this during an interview session on Wednesday.
He said, “The plan is to make the East-to-West crossing (accessible) – so if you’re coming from Asaba, Ore, Benin going to the East and beyond and that started from the 15th. It will last till the 1st of January.
“It’s a one-way crossing so that on the 2nd, we will reverse what we have done and allow people to use it from the 3rd. We need a day to change that and allow people to use it for the East-to-West crossing. Then on the 15th, we will shut it down again so that we can finish the 4km access road that we are actually trying to build and also complete the interchanges that are not completed.”
The minister stated that the Government’s target delivery date for the project was in the second quarter of 2023.
He continued: “Truth be told, the target date is somewhere (in) April or May. But these dates keep shifting and people must remember that on the Eastern side, our contractors have not been able to work on Mondays for almost two years, so that has affected the completion dates.
“If you lost 52 or almost 50 Mondays every year, you’ve lost 52 days of construction. Where do you make that up? We’ve also had some challenges that we had to overcome in terms of timelines. For example, we had to relocate all the transmission lines connecting the East to the West across that river.
All of them had to be moved. So, again, we lost some days because the power company had to shut down; they had contracts to supply energy; they had contracts to take gas,” Fashola said.
The minister defended the four- to the five-month turnaround time for completing the East-West Road project, stating that the terrain was a major factor.
“We’re building in marshland, so we have dredge, accumulate sand. If you go there now, you have to landfill. When you reclaim land from the marsh, you have to wait for it to settle; you can’t start building the following day.