The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has charged journalists to help educate road users on the need to stop road abuse saying the only way to get the best out of the roads was to use them properly instead of abusing them.
Fashola who gave the charge while addressing a group of journalists under the auspices of All People’s Congress,(APC) Press corps who paid him a visit at the Ministry’s headquarters in Mabushi, Abuja explained that roads were designed to carry maximum of 45 tonnes of loads but some vehicles were carrying up to 60 tonnes of cargo, a practice which he described as abuse.
The Minister listed other forms of abuse to include parking at roadsides by truck drivers who stop to change oil or drop diesel, pointing out that diesel and petrol destroy the binder properties of bitumen causing the road to disintegrate.
Urging journalists to help carry the message in every language, he explained further, “Diesel and oil dissolve, they are solvent, bitumen is a binder. Once they drop solvent on binding component of the roads, it starts to disintegrate”.
Fashola, who advised truck owners to establish designed parks for their trucks and stop pushing the burden to the government, declared, ”They must go and get a place, you cannot pass the burden on government. Government is not responsible for trucking business; government is to provide a reliable road network for transportation”.
The Minister maintained that if people use the road the way it should be used, they would get the best out of the roads adding, however, that the long term solution to the misuse of road is the rail transport system which according to him,the Minister of Transportation is currently working seriously.
He disclosed that out of the 35,000 kilometrs national road network, 13,000 kilometres were currently under the on going rehabilitation and maintenance nationwide and were at various stages of repairs adding that while work had been completed in some of the roads and had been put to use, some of the others had been completed in sections which have also been put to use.
Responding to a question on the delay in the rehabilitation of Benin- Lokoja road, Fashola who noted that the only problematic section of the road at present was the section between Auchi and Okpella, attributed the problem to both ecological and environmental conditions adding that although the contractor was being funded, it was discovered that the original design of the road if used would flood the entire community.
“The contractor is funded but there is a drainage problem there, if we choose the option we have, it will flood an entire community”. The alternative is to build a bypass around the community, it becomes a long road that has to be designed.” “It is an environmental and ecological problem we have to find a way to solve it”, he said.
Reiterating that no part of the country was being left behind in the on-going rehabilitation and maintenance process, the Minister explained that as a result of environmental and ecological differences across the country, roads and road materials behave differently adding that for that reason concrete broads were now being introduced in some places.
Fashola said, “The way to get the best out of the roads is to use them properly instead of abusing them and we are going to need you to help us in doing this.” He explained that roads are designed to carry a maximum of twenty five tones of load but some vehicles carry up to sixty tones and described this practice as an abuse.
Speaking further he said other people that abuse the roads are truck users that pack at road sides, change oil and drop diesel. Fashola added that when the diesel drops on the road that’s when the damage begins. He said, “The diesel and oil dissolve, they are solvent, the bitumen is a binder, once they drop solvent on binding component of the road, it starts to disintegrate, I plead with you to help carry this message in every language.”
The Minister said trucks parked on the road creates room for water to sink from under thereby destroying the road from under. He urged truck owners to get parks for their vehicles and stop pushing the burden to government. “ They must go and get truck parks, go and get a place, you can’t pass the burden on government, government is not responsible for trucking business, government is to provide a reliable road network to transport yourself.”
The Minster explained that currently, rehabilitation and maintenance work are going on across the nation. He said out of the thirty five thousand road networks in the country, thirteen thousand are undergoing various stages of repair . He added that work on some roads had been completed and being used.
He disclosed that the reason for the delay in Auchi – Okpella road is ecological and environmental. “The contractor is funded but there is a drainage problem there, if we choose the option we have, it will flood an entire community”. The alternative is to build a bypass around the community, it becomes a long road that has to be designed.” “It is an environmental and ecological problem we have to find a way to solve it”.
He maintained that roads and road materials will behave differently and that is why concrete roads are being introduced in some places.The Minister emphasized that no section of the country is being left behind
While speaking on bridge construction and repairs the Minster said that surveillance survey of all bridges in the nation had been conducted and work had started from the most critical ones. He gave examples of the Kotonkarfe bridge, Tambuwal bridge, Eko bridge, 3rd Mainland bridge, Marine bridge, Chachanji bridge and the old Niger bridge being maintained as work is on going in new bridges across the country .
Director Press and Public Relations