Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, has said that construction work on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria -Kano dual carriageway was delayed due to a request for the expansion of the road.
Fashola explained that some members of the National Assembly had called for the road to be expanded from two lanes to three lanes.
Speaking at a town hall meeting of stakeholders organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in the Kaduna State University Conference hall, according to a statement by the ministry on Friday and titled, ‘FG reiterates commitment to completing Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway’.
“Shortly after we commissioned the road, we received a letter from the senators in the National Assembly asking the Federal Government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes. That was not from us; it was from the National Assembly, the Senators, and they wrote to the President and copied my ministry.
Meanwhile, Fashola assured that the Federal Government would complete the 2nd Niger Bridge in 2022.
The minister, who spoke at a town hall meeting with host communities of Anambra and Delta states on Friday, said though some grounds had been lost in the job due to conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic, the 2022 date was sacrosanct.
“We needed to redesign an expansion to accommodate about 40 different bridges on this road to align with the lanes. So, if they are going to expand from two to three lanes, a new design needed to be created. The process for doing that required us to hire a design consultant. We had to follow the procurement process established by the National Assembly,” he said.
Fashola further stated that after going through all the processes of procurement for redesigning to three lanes, the ministry received another instruction to revert back to two lanes due to paucity of fund.
“Each lane is 375km. So, if you multiply that by four, we are building 1, 500km of highway. No matter how hard you tried to work, if there was 25 hours in one day to do this work, we will commit to it, but the truth is that materials take time to react, minimum and maximum processes must be observed.
“Mr President is more passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many others before his constitutional term ends.”
He added, “The President asked me to assure you that nothing would stop the completion of the project in 2022. The project is on course; thanks to the governors of Anambra and Delta states, his excellencies, Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Okowa, respectively, for their efforts in returning normalcy here.”