Julius Berger, the contractor reconstructing the Lagos-Sagamu stretch of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, yesterday opened the popular long-bridge full use.
The repair of the bridge, which included striping of its former surface and replacing it with synthetic asphalt, cause unimaginable hardship to commuters while it lasted.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, while inspecting sections of the road yesterday, praised commuters for their patience.
Fashola said: “I also want to thank commuters who endured stress during the repairs and want to state that as the bridge is open to traffic, you will see that your sacrifice was worth it; you will have better motoring experience even as work continues.
“We had a completion time line of December 31 to finish this work but our contractor had doubled their efforts and they have now finished the first phase of the work on the long bridge.
“The bridge has been asphalted but the work is not finished. It is a 4,500 metre bridge on both sides and they still have to install some joints.
“About 44 on one side and 44 on the other side; their contract also extends to kilometre 46 to Sagamu; they are ashalting between kilometre 30 to 33.
“The reason for my coming is to thank the contractor because they said they are going to open this place to traffic today.
“This is well ahead of the December 31 date and they did this, being sensitive to the heavy movement that takes place on this road during Christmas.”
The minister then appealed to road users to avoid reckless driving, to stem accidents throughout the yuletide season.
According to him, the rainy season slowed down the project but urged road users to expect more repairs with the improvement in weather on both section one of the project being handled by Julius Berger and section two, which spans from the Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan, being handled by the Reynolds Construction Company, (RCC).
He explained that Julius Berger had to manage the heavy traffic, while it went on with the repairs, because it would have been counterproductive to close the road.
To speed up the work, he said Berger had to deploy about 50 trailers to and fro the site daily, moving materials in and out, adding that, over 3,600 trips were made.
He thanked the governments of Lagos and Ogun for their support in repair and providing logistics to ease congestion
on the highway during the construction.
The minister also thanked the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Police and other law enforcement and traffic management agencies, as well as ministry officials for their efforts which both eased gridlock and improved security.
The Project Manager of Julius Berger, Mr. Wolfgang Panzer, explained that asphalt layers were increased in some places on the bridge to ensure stability and durability.