The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday, said the East-West Road will be shut down on January 15 to resume construction.
“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,” Fashola said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
“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.”
Speaking on the expected delivery date of the project, the minister disclosed that the target for the Federal Government was in the second quarter of 2023.
“Truth be told, the target date is somewhere (in) April, 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.
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“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.
Defending the four- to five-month turnaround timeline to deliver the East-West Road project, the minister explained 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 sandfill. When you reclaim land from the marsh, you have to wait for it to settle; you can’t start building the following day.
“In fact, the reason why that is even possible is that we are using a technology called Prefabricated Vertical Drains to accelerate the settlement and the drainage so that we can start building quicker than ordinarily if you left it.
“If you’re familiar with sand-filling in areas like Lagos, when you sand-fill, you can’t start building. You allow for settlement first and that takes anything between six to 18 months, depending on the nature of the terrain,” he said.