If there is one thing a government can do to make the governed throw its weight behind it, it is giving the ruled good network of roads. The reason is obvious to us all – good roads ensure ease of doing business, just to mention one reason. This is why I am passionate about this subject of good roads.
I have written severally on sustainable roads for the country and will continue to do so for as long as our roads remain in tatters.
You would recall that in my first piece on roads, I advised the use of cement pavements for our roads. My argument: Constructing a road with cement is between 25 and 50 per cent cheaper than making it with asphalt, a method that is currently popularly with Nigeria… when you take the life cycle of the road into consideration. But the concrete road is 10 per cent more expensive to construct than asphalt road, which is the initial capital cost when you are constructing it.
The point I made very clear was that the life cycle of the road “is what matters”.once you have completed the road, take the life cycle of the road over 20- 30 years and more, the concrete becomes extremely much cheaper because less maintenance is required. And in a country like Nigeria where we know we have poor maintenance culture, it makes sense then that the choice should be concrete road.
My submission was based on the outcome of a September 2012 Businessday/cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’s conference with the theme ‘Exploring Cement Based Option for Sustainable Road Construction in Nigeria’ held at Eko Hotel & Suites Victoria Island, Lagos. It was a great conference which laid bare very convincing facts – facts that tell you it is economically wise( on the long run) for Nigeria to go concrete roads.
The facts among others: • There is enormous deficit in transportation infrastructure which is an important requirement for economic development. • The technology being used for road construction across the world has attracted a lot of inputs from cement based materials as against the use of asphalt, adding that Nigeria needs to imbibe this new technology. • Asphalt is in great use for lo
cal production for Nigeria, yet across the world concrete is used for road pavements • Concrete roads facilitate accessibility and movement; there is need for us to adopt this road construction option. • Use of cement for road construction is cost-effective, long lasting, requires less maintenance and is more environmental-friendly, relative to Asphalt. • Over 99.9 percent of road construction today in Nigeria involves the use of Asphalt. While about 40 percent of the roads in developed countries are made of cement, less than 0.1 percent is used in Nigeria. Cement which is readily available in the country today can be utilized in constructing longer lasting, more cost-efficient roads.
• On the issue of the suitability of concrete-based pavement to the different soil-types in the country, it was emphasized that with proper design, analysis and construction, concrete based solutions can still be effectively utilized. • The conference also noted that
asphalt does not work well under heavy rain, and is susceptible to oil spillage. • Cement: Catalyst of growth of manufacturing sector in the country. • There are a number of financing
options for road construction prominent among which is the public-private partnership (PPP), which has made limited progress. I do not know what option the Lagos State Government has for its 181 Local Government Area (LGAS)/ Local Council Development Areas (LCDAS) inner roads it plans to commence rehabilitating in September, but I advise it should go for cement concrete option. This is not only cost-effective like has been proven here but appropriate for the nature of Lagos land – coastal land that traditionally comes with flooding. Oriade LCDAS
It is noteworthy that Governor Ambode said the need to scale up the road improvement efforts arose from the fact that he had received many requests on rehabilitation of roads from residents, adding that many of the roads captured for 2017 were key roads that would have positive economic impact on the people. The governor should please treat Oriade LCDA’S case as a special one.
Why? One, residents of this area are accusing the APC government of Lagos State of deliberately neglecting them because they largely vote for the opposition party. Ambode needs to prove them wrong by rehabilitating Oriade’s key roads and by so doing win them over. This is a right way of doing it. After all, His Excellency did it with Okota after the resident there cried foul.
Two, the Navy barracks is in Oriade. It is a shame that the road leading to the prestigious barracks is falling to pieces Three, a multibillion naira fuel depot is located in Oriade. This should attract a superb network of roads if we do not want another Apapa/tin Can Island mess in our hands.
In fact, there should be a replication of the Dangote Industries/flour Mills of Nigeria/ Federal Government PPP arrangement here. The fuel companies wouldn’t object, I believe. The points highlighted here, taken along with the case of the litany of small businesses that are doing business in Oriade, make Oriade qualify for special consideration. Post Script:
The piece here was published on this page during Akinwunmi Ambode’s regime. I need to comment here that the local government inner roads are currently being worked on. Some of Oriade LCDA roads are, as I write, being re-surfaced with concrete pavements; and serious work is going on Oshodi-apapa Motorway – and it is concrete pavement! Accept my commendation.