The Minister of Works, David Umahi, on Saturday, announced that President Bola Tinubu has asked him to fast-track the proposed 470 kilometers Abuja-Lagos Greenfield superhighway, to be built by a Private Sector Consortium at no cost to the Federal Government, adding that, the road aims to reduce the travel time from Abuja to Lagos from 14-hours to 4-hours 30 minutes, .
Speaking in Lagos, Umahi said that the Consortium will operate the facility for a yet-to-be-determined period on a build, operate and transfer deal, noting that it would be tolled at different points, to enable the Investors recoup their investment.
His words: “When I first introduced this to the public, many doubting Thomases were saying, ‘it is impossible. Lagos to Abuja done in 14-hours cannot be done in 4 and half hours’. But that is the renewed hope of Mr. President.
“The President has approved that I fast-track this project, which would be two lanes, and each lane a two-carriage way.
“The only carriageway that is equivalent to this is the Third Mainland Bridge, where each carriageway is 14 metres. It is going to be built on 275-millimetre thick concrete.
“The live-shelf design of this project is going to be 100 years. It is going to be completed within four years and this is doable. There are a number of bridges that will be built. There are a number of tolling points that are going to be there. We are not providing any kobo for the project, just assisting with direction.”
Umahi speaking further, explained that from Lagos, the road will pass through 8 States in the South-West and North Central to Abuja. The States are: Kogi, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and Kwara, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
He praised the Private Consortium behind the deal, Advance Engineering Company, saying that he is “very satisfied with their concept and what they have put in place”.
He added: “The next thing is to bring the business proposal, so that we can negotiate the cost of the project. The good thing is that we are building this road on concrete, so we can predict the cost. In asphalt, you cannot predict the cost. The cost of asphalt roads changes every month.
“Concrete roads are more durable and cheaper than asphalt, and I have directed all ongoing projects that have not advanced up to 80 percent to change the remaining to concrete.”
The Minister said that plans are underway to make the road a business and industrial corridor, with Hotels, Factories and Housing Estates, among others, on the route.
Emphasising the seriousness of the project, Umahi said that the contract would be watertight, such that if the Consortium backs out unreasonably, it may have to pay a fine of $10 million.
The Chairman of the Consortium, Kenny Martins, described the project as “the first of its kind in Africa”, saying that, it would be ICT-compliant with a fibre optic connection, solar-powered street lights and security points on the entire stretch of the road.
Martins stated that in Lagos, the route would begin from the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge, in Epe, to Abuja.
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