The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday, revealed that the problem of insufficient funds and the increasing price of construction materials were the only issues delaying the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
This was as he blamed the previous administration for neglecting critical infrastructure.
Fashola made the revelation when he appeared on Television Continental programme, Your View, where he said crash barriers returned to the site because of the volume of vehicles plying the road, as he pleaded for patience and cooperation with the contractors.
He added that the last mile of the project would be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
He said, “Let me first appreciate commuters who use that road, a major transport artery in Nigeria for their understanding. This road could have been built between 1999 and 2015 but it wasn’t. This road is in better shape than we inherited and it is now at the last mile of completion.
“The major source of delay first is funding.
“You remember at a point this road was removed from the budget completely and I was engaging the National Assembly until the president unveiled the presidential infrastructure development fund which was essentially from investments from the Nigerian LNG and funds recovered from outside Nigeria.
“So, when people talk about corruption and anti-corruption, a president who goes to recover funds stolen and put it in investment for his people is the real anti-corruption as far as I am concerned.
“On the crash barriers, they are there because we are building through a major transport artery. Our last traffic count indicates that at least N40,000 vehicles use that road from the Lagos end to the Sagamu end.
“After Sagamu it drops to 22 thousand so that has to be managed to ensure the safety of the construction workers.
“We closed site work in December because traditionally construction companies shut down mid-December and resume mid-January.
“We are still expecting to finish the project in the first quarter.”
When asked about solutions to reduce gridlock, he said, “You can’t expect to drive fast in a construction zone, there will be a bit of slowdown and it is in that slowdown that ‘how we behave’ becomes very important.”