The Federal Government on Saturday assured Lagos residents that section one of the ongoing reconstruction/rehabilitation of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway project would be completed within three weeks.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, who gave the assurance during a joint inspection with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said section one of the road would be opened afterwards.

Popoola said that the rehabilitation works, which had been divided into four sections, were to ease port congestion and gridlock at the Apapa axis.

Section one of the project spans from Liverpool Round Bridge through Creek Road to Beachland near Sunrise and is about 10 kms, while section two is 8.4 km and spans from Beachland to Cele Bus Stop.

The reconstruction/rehabilitation of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki Expressway project was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018 to resolve Apapa traffic gridlock.

The contract was awarded to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd at the cost of N73bn under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government.

The NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, led a delegation which joined the Ministry of Works team on an on-the-spot assessment of construction works.

After a brief meeting under the Liver Pool Round Bridge to assess ongoing rehabilitation works on the Bridge Ramp, the inspection continued through Tin-Can Island second gate to Beach Land/Sunrise area.

Conclusions were reached after extensive deliberation between the two teams and Hitech Construction Company, the sub-contractor handling the project on behalf of the Dangote Group.

Briefing newsmen, Popoola said that grey areas as regards accessibility due to trucks infringing on construction zone and disagreements on the pace of construction had been resolved.

He said that the inspection allowed the NPA delegation to see for themselves that the contractor had been working progressively.

“And this section that we are is the end of section one which we have completed. We will complete the remaining portion within the next three weeks, especially the asphalt work.

“So within that three weeks, the outstanding works will be completed fully and then the section one will be made available to the motorists.

“We (FMW) also complained about the trucks that are infiltrating the road while we are working. We have told them (NPA) that we cannot allow trucks to flock onto the section where we are working because they will disturb the contractor.

“So the trucks will now be monitored and controlled fully.

“Both the NPA security, the Nigerian Police, LASTMA and then the contractor’s representative will form a synergy to work out how they will be controlling the trucks that enter into the port road henceforth,’’ Popoola said.

The controller added that agreement had also been reached for the contractor to move to site to begin construction works on section two of the project which had just been awarded.

He said that work on section three and four had progressed, adding that it had achieved more than 70 per cent completion cumulatively.

Popoola said that the entire project would be completed and handed over within the next nine to 10 months, including section two which had just been awarded.

The NPA Managing Director said that agreements were reached on timelines for construction works in order not to disrupt port operations.

Usman also said resolutions were reached to ensure that the contractor worked during the weekends and on public holidays to ease congestion.

She said it was resolved that a corridor would be opened for trucks movement in addition to palliative works on some roads and another inspection in three weeks on section one.

She promised that truck movement would be sequenced, adding that, a synergy meeting would hold to map out how the trucks movement in batches would work.

Usman added that discussions were on with the Lagos State Government on how to ensure enforcement against extortion of truck drivers as well as cleaning up shanties and social miscreants.

“And I think sanitising the area is what will enable us have that sanity and concluding the construction works.

”Removing all those shanties and illegal structures around the port corridors is what will enable us remove the presence of miscreants that harass the truck drivers,’’ she said. (NAN)