The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said what was delaying the completion of the Port Harcourt- Enugu, Aba-Port Harcourt highway were environmental and other factors.
Fashola stated this in Port Harcourt Rivers State during an inspection of the Port Harcourt – Enugu section of the highway.
He said: “We must first remember that if you do not have water, you cannot be a Port City. Essentially, we are building on water. It is a very challenging environment for infrastructure, “ he explained.
He appealed to the host communities to be patient with the Federal Government and show cooperation as Government was committed to providing bigger, better, wider and safer road for them.
“As you can see, our plan is to deliver eight lanes from what was four lanes since we intend to make our experience better this rainy season than last year.”
This was contained in a press statement issued by Boade Akinola D(Press & Public Relations),said
He added that though the work would not finish this year,Government intended to finish the four lanes, divide the four lanes into two; an incoming and out ward bound traffic that would facilitate free flow of traffic.
According to the minister, that would serve as a form of relief to commuters and other road users as nine Kilometres of the road from Eleme junction is in between Port Harcourt urban and metropolitan. “It is another challenge as it is already a built up area, “ he said.
Speaking on why the road construction was delayed, Fashola stated, “ A lot of sand filling is going on here, the road is dug well over two metres and we have to remove the bad soil and replace it with good soil and this accounts for a lot of dredging work going on here.”
He also explained that part of the road was passing through already built area, some buildings had to go as well as relocation of power lines. “These are the challenges and the reasons this road is taking time to be built.”
Fashola further said that our experience this year would be better than last year. But he quickly called for the cooperation of commuters, communities, Local and State Governments to fast track the construction of the road. “We expect people to cooperate with us.
We expect people not to park vehicles on the construction sections because you obstruct traffic. Our highways are not parking lots” He directed that any vehicle parked on any part of the construction sections of the highway should be impounded.