In the past three years, the FCT has deployed a lot of resources to the expansion and modernizing of the road network
Unarguably, Abuja has the best roads in the country today. This is due to the faithful implementation of the road master plan with improved modifications. The administration of Bala Mohammed added a radical dimension in the past three years through a religious funding of road projects making a tremendous impact in road infrastructure.
The most ambitious road projects are: the Airport Road which has been renamed Umaru Yar’Adua Expressway; the Kubwa/Zubwa Expressway, known as the Outer Northern Expressway, ONEX; and the Southern end of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Ring Road. These are 10-lane super multiple carriage highways with full accompaniments of street lights, drainages, pedestrian bridges and flyovers. For the Airport and Kubwa roads, work has reached 90 per cent completion. The contract for the Airport Road was awarded to Julius Berger on May 11, 2009 by the Yar’Adua administration with a completion date of December 2014. The present FCT administration is sticking to this deadline and from what is on the ground when the magazine inspected the project, it will be well completed ahead of time.
Before the Kubwa and Airport roads were expanded, it took over three hours to get to the city centre in the morning and much longer to return home at close down. For those who work in places like banks with rigid time belts, they left their homes around 4am and those not sure of their car radiators waited till about 11pm to attempt going home. When it rained heavily or an accident occurred, then getting home would be well after midnight. Even worse was the frequent fatal accidents that occurred along that corridor. A similar scenario was reproduced along the Airport Road corridor with pathetic impact on local and airport traffic. Today, the travel time has reduced to 30 minutes between the city and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
Details of the Airport Road contract showed the depth of thinking and funding that went into the job. The road has two phases totalling 37.5 kilometres, km, at the cost of N108.4 billion. It has 294 culverts, 30 bridges, three interchanges, eight pedestrian bridges and lay-by, 89km of storm drainage, 199km power supply, 3,508 streetlights and 37.5 kilometres of telecommunication ducts. A total of 1,400 skilled and unskilled Nigerians were employed on the project.
Likewise, the Kubwa/Zuba way is being executed in two phases awarded to two companies – Dantata & Sowe and CGC Nig Ltd. Both contracts were awarded on May 7, 2009 at the total cost of N148.74 billion for its scope of 39.76km and would be completed in 2014. Already, it has attained about 95 per cent completion. It has 56 culverts, 11 pedestrian bridges, four flyover bridges over railway crossing and 39.5km length of telecommunication ducts. A total of 925 skilled and unskilled jobs were created by the project. The whole 39.5km length, like that of Airport Road, has street-lighting. Even at this level of completion, travel time between Zubwa and the city is down to 30 minutes.
“Those who were familiar with the condition of the roads before the vital road projects were implemented would agree that their construction had become necessary in order to break the gridlock hitherto experienced by commuters on them, especially during festive periods and peak hours. Travel time has been reduced by more than 100 per cent on the Airport and Kubwa roads,” said Mohammed.
The contract of the construction of the Southern Parkway from the Inner Southern Expressway, ISEX, to Ring Road 1 was awarded on December 13, 2010 to Setraco Nig Ltd at the cost of N16.23 billion. it is billed for completion in July 2014. It completes the 10-lane ring. “Upon completion, it will reduce congestion within the southern part of the city,” explained the FCT Minister.
Another very important road project is the reconstruction of the 72km Lower Usman Dam–Gurara Dam–Jere Road which commenced on March 23, 2011. It is being handled by SCC Nig Ltd at the cost of N13.84 billion and has attained over 95 per cent completion. The importance of this road, according to the Minister is that “it creates an alternative route for movement out the City from Abuja to Kaduna” through the Bwari axis.
Next, the Minister faced internal roads. Still under the influence of the 10-lane fever, FCT scaled up the standard of internal roads to the 10-lane model. Under this standard, the contract for the extension of the 3.8km ISEX from the Outer Southern Expressway, OSEX to Southern Parkway was awarded to Salini Nig. Ltd on January 20, 2010 at the cost of N13.38 billion and would be completed this year. Already it has attained over 80 per cent completion. According to the Minister, “upon completion, it will reduce traffic congestion that is presently experienced from North-eastern part of the country into AYA Roundabout end of the territory.”
Still under internal roads, Julius Berger was awarded a N66.8 billion contract for the completion of roads B6, B12 and Circle Road in the Central Business District. Awarded in 2007, it is billed for completion this year. It would reduce travel time within the City when completed.
Furthermore, FCT did something very rare in Nigeria when it started the resurfacing of internal urban roads in Garki and Wuse districts which were built 35 years ago and cracked all over. Several aging roads in Garki 1 and Wuse 1, the oldest districts in Abuja are being resurfaced and expanded by the current administration. The contract was awarded to Arab Contractors on November 28, 2012 at the cost of N2.789 billion and would be completed in 2014. Already, Herbert Macaulay Way, Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Sultan Abubakar, ABB and Ladi Kwali roads are wearing a new look. More ageing roads are being resurfaced this year.
Similarly, several major interchanges (overhead bridges) have been completed and commissioned at AYA, Asokoro, Banex Junction–Jahi/Mabushi Link, Karimo/Utako and Gwarinpa II – Kado/Life Camp Junction.
Satellite roads include: Kuje–Gwagwalada Road Expansion Project, the Gitata bypass, Karshi – Apo bypass, Sunrise – Guzape Bypass the Gwagwalada–Dobi Connection and the Bwari Township roads project.
At the district level, a number of district infrastructure are being provided at Wuye, Jahi, Kagini and Maitama Extension. All these are new projects awarded under the present administration, apart from the infrastructural projects inherited from previous administration such as the one in Guzape and other places.
In all these projects, one thing is consistent – quality. The design and execution of FCT roads is second to none in Nigeria today. “What has made Abuja a special city is the quality and standard of infrastructure provided. Abuja is now a world-class city due to the standard and quality of the infrastructural facilities,” affirmed Adamu Alfa Abu, a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers and Director, Engineering Services, Federal Capital Development Authority.