Transporters, Haulage Suffer As Abuja-Kaduna Road Collapses

a group of people walking down a dirt road: Transporters(C) Provided by Daily Independent Transporters

With the continued deterioration of the 375km Abuja-Kano road which passes through Kaduna and Zaria towns, transport operations, especially haulage and movement of farm producers, the lucrative Abuja market, may continue to suffer. The immediate consequence of this development is higher and steeper cost of food items and commodities. With the rail taking substantial passengers and commuters off the highways, there were expectations that work on repairs of the major arterial road will hasten up.

Though money by federal government have been budgetted for the road repairs, work has been slow, leading to continued deterioration even as reconstruction of the dual carriage highway is suffering from undue delay. A major reason why work is deemed slow is failure of the contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, to deploy enough equipment and manpower to fast track the reconstruction of the road. There are however, other reasons, though.

There are talks that alleged poor funding by the federal government. Long stretches of what used to be road shoulders have been washed off while large portions have disappeared. As gathered from reports, there are no less than 3,000 potholes between Abuja and Kano with most of them concentrated between the Kaduna and Abuja stretch.

For instance, between the flyover at the Abuja junction in Kaduna and Olam Farm, it was learnt that at there are at least 126 potholes of different shapes and sizes. From Olam to Rijana, there are 114 potholes, 16 of which are very deep. And from Rijana village to Doka village, there are 46 potholes; while from Doka to Katari Junction, there are 159 cracks and holes.

The lane going to Kaduna from Abuja is even worse as there are 170 cracks and holes from Katari to Doka, and 718 potholes from Doka to Rijana. There are over 503 potholes from Rijana to Olam Farm, while from Olam to Kaduna Toll Gate, there are 298 potholes. And from Toll Gate to Gonin Gora, there are 246 holes, giving a total of 1,935 potholes on the two sides of the road within a stretch of 85km.

Motorists plying the routes that were spoken to complained about the effect of the bad road on their lives and the vehicles. "It is a death trap; the road damages our tyres because if you are not lucky and fall into a big pothole, it will just tear your tyre or force you to veer off the road," said a private driver who gave his name simply as Ben. The House of Representatives Committee on Works, led by Abubakar Kabir Abubakar, had last week railed at the construction giant, which is solely handling the project, for subjecting millions of Nigerians to hardship while plying the road, and threatened to split the contract and bring on board other contractors to hasten completion.

Accidents leading to deaths are recurring decimals along the road which is dotted with hundreds of potholes, diversions and other obstructions. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in December 2017 approved the contract for the reconstruction of the road but work commenced in July 2018. The contract was awarded at the sum of N155 billion with a completion period of 36 months.

Julius Berger has so far received over N50 billion, representing 32 per cent of the total budget for the road. Progress of work on the road is said to be at 26.7 per cent, 18 months into the 36-month completion period. Our correspondents in Abuja, Kaduna, Zaria and Kano, who travelled over the road and closely monitored the progress, report that while reconstruction work has been slow, the degradation that necessitated the award of the contract had continued due to weather conditions, traffic congestion and lack of maintenance.

Many portions of the road have been eroded with pot holes and gullies forming in the middle and cracks of different sizes across its length and breadth.

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