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Trace Reporters –The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc; Engr. Dr. Lars Richter has again given a firm assurance to the federal government and to all other stakeholders of the Lagos-Shagamu Expressway rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion project that the company would as contracted duly complete and deliver the works as scheduled.
Dr. Richter, the energetic civil engineering and management professional has been traversing the length and breadth of the country with the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing for the past week for inspection of priority projects of the Federal Government under the company’s portfolio. He made his remarks at Ogere where a Townhall meeting was held on the Lagos-Shagamu Expressway project last Saturday. Richter referred to the Lagos-Shagamu Expressway as a “key national infrastructure with immense socio-economic benefits for adjoining states and indeed, the entire nation.” The Lagos-Shagamu Expressway, he added is the largest road in Africa and the major link the northern, southern and eastern parts of Nigeria and one of the busiest highways in the country.
Julius Berger was contracted to implement the construction of Section 1 of the Lagos-Shagamu Expressway, that is, Lagos to Sagamu Interchange. This section, Richter said, has the highest traffic volume in Nigeria, in terms of high volume commerce and trade as well as heavy volumes of commuters who travel either to and from work or for religious activities on a daily basis. The heavy traffic volumes necessitated the expansion of the original design of the highway to three lanes in both directions.
Julius Berger’s scope of works specifically comprises of rehabilitation and extension of approximately 43km dual carriageway; rehabilitation of existing bridges; construction of new drainage system; construction of three new flyovers; construction of two toll gates as well as construction of 10 pedestrian bridges.
The Julius Berger Managing Director confidently asserted that in spite of the fair share of challenges encountered thus far in the Lagos-Shagamu expressway project, immense progress has been achieved and the momentum and trajectory of the ongoing works remains very strong and on course for completion, delivery and commissioning in due time.
Richter added that, “since funding through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, PIDF has been implemented, the progress (of work) could proceed unhindered.”
Completion of the Julius Berger works on the Lagos-Shagamu expressway, Richter confidently asserted, is planned for 3rd quarter of 2022. Speaking on the challenge of traffic management in the course of the works, Richter said, “Julius Berger has implemented highly detailed traffic management planning”. A study carried out in 2013, he said, showed that the Lagos-Shagamu expressway is one of the busiest roads in West Africa with approximately 40,000-vehicle count per day, having a count of above 3,000 vehicle passes per hour at peak hour. The traffic volume, Richter said had since increased in the past five years due to the development of new towns, housing estates as well as further expansion of industrial development.
To mitigate for seamless traffic flow and to create for a safe work environment, Julius Berger has developed a Traffic Management Plan, TMP. Key considerations in the TMP include areas of expected hazards; required bus stops; access to adjoining communities; safe working environment; and the wellbeing and safety of major stakeholders, including petrol and gas stations, churches, factories and pedestrians.
On the problem of broken down and dysfunctional vehicles on the road and its negative impact on the ongoing works, Richter said Julius Berger has put in place 24 hours emergency response, which has resulted to, “a reduction in response time by means of well-established lines of communication between the various (government) agencies.” On the issue of congestion during peak hours, Julius Berger has established functional collaborations with the Federal Road Safety Corps, LASTMA and TRACE. Other mitigating measures initiated by the company include display of information and advance warning signs as well as ensuring that the emergency response crew is readily, always on stand by for immediate deployment where and when necessary.
Additionally, to mitigate traffic congestion due to narrow carriageway, Julius Berger has implemented the bold display of advanced warning signs of “Road Narrowing”, speed restriction signs and physically present flagmen as well as flashing lights at night to alert commuters of the necessity to slow down and be mindful of their approaching a construction site ahead of them.
Julius Berger has also implemented a very helpful Twitter Account to provide real time information about traffic incidents on the Lagos-Shagamu expressway, which are related to the company’s scope of work and even when outside of Julius Berger’s Section of the project but present along the axis.
Richter said the federal government has understandably made the strategically important Lagos-Shagamu expressway rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion work a major priority of President Buhari administration. Accordingly, Julius Berger has also therefore seriously prioritised the Lagos-Shagamu expressway project.
While thanking every stakeholder including the federal government, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo state governments, as well as the immediate host communities and commuters for their highly valued trust in the excellent capabilities of Julius Berger, Richter added that it remains a privilege that Julius Berger is the contractor of choice and the best choice for the ongoing works.
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