The Minister of Works, David Umahi, on Saturday, opened discussions with Hitech Construction Company Ltd. on the proposed Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.
Mr Umahi, during a meeting with engineers from the Federal Ministry of Works and the contractor’s team in Lagos, said the project would boost interconnectivity to link the entire nation.
He said the project was huge and ambitious and showed the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to the restoration and rapid development of Nigeria.
He said the president was in a hurry to fix Nigeria and begin the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project.
The minister said the meeting with the contractor was the first and another meeting to be held in a fortnight would be to close deals for commencement of construction.
He said the project was a Public Private Partnership to be tolled upon completion, adding that the contractor had already sourced the money to execute the project.
Mr Umahi explained that the project would be constructed in phases and the completed portions would be put to use and tolled.
He said the proposed highway would link the Lagos-Badagry Expressway super highway, connect the proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge to Lekki Deep Sea Port Road and link Ogoja-Ikom to connect five points in Northern Nigeria.
He said the road had an initial design length of about 650 to 700kms and rail lines components which would run in the middle of the main carriageways.
He said the project would promote tourism and have industrial clusters including hotels, factories, housing estates and several other facilities.
“It is quite innovative and the giant of Africa is beginning to show her prowess and this is being revitalised by the captain of the ship, his excellency President Bola Tinubu.
“So, this is beautiful. Another good news is that this is going to be built on a concrete road of 11 inches thick with 20-millimeter reinforcement,” he said.
He said concrete construction would give opportunity to local cement manufacturers, boost steel production from Ajaokuta, as well as exploration of Nigeria’s huge bitumen.
Mr Umahi, who is a civil engineer, said the project would have challenges because it would pass through mangroves, mashy areas, flood plains and all kinds of land and soil types.
“And so, there will be a combination of all kinds of construction methods, the deck on pile would be there, the sand filling will be there, the retaining walls will be there.
“So, it’s a very ambitious project, quite technical and highly rewarding.
“So, the second meeting will come up in two weeks where the business case study will be exposed to us and we will give them a letter to own the project and then to engage in the design.
“The Lagos-Port Harcourt-Calabar Coastal Highway is the first of its kind in the whole of Africa,” he said.
The consultant to Hitech, Nicholas Rizk, said the construction methods chosen were suitable for countries with large landmass like Nigeria.
Mr Rizk said the project corridor transversed various topographical areas, hence the need to capture all economic and social peculiarities of people along the project alignment.
He said the road would take off from Victoria Island near Eko Atlantic City through the Lekki Coastal Road, then Lekki Free Trade Zone and the Dangote Refinery to link Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Edo up till Calabar.
“We are connecting nine states and this road.
“In addition to the integration at the national level for south-west and south-east, south-south and Niger Delta, it connects with the federal roads going from Lagos to Sokoto.
“From Warri to Kaduna, from Port Harcourt to Kano-Maiduguri and from Calabar to Maiduguri.
“So, basically, as the minister mentioned, we have this coastal highway that is more or less 10 to 12 kilometres away from the shorelines to consider the issue of erosion and the sensitive environmental areas,” he said.
He explained how health, safety and environmental factors were considered in the project as it passed oil-producing areas through Brass, Calabar to connect the East-West corridor through Lagos to Abidjan and also the North.
He also explained the rail components of the project, the measurements and other dimensions of the major carriageways as well as links to major ports in the nation.
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