From Hutson Efosa, Abuja
The Nigerian Government has appealed to road users to stop the misuse of roads as it threatens their safety and leads to unnecessary loss of lives and properties.
The Director of Highway Construction and Rehabilitation in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Engineer Funsho Adebiyi, made this appeal while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on the state of federal roads.
Adebiyi specifically cited the Enugu – Onitsha expressway and complained that drivers were using pavements of the highways which are being mistaken for a third lane while heavy duty trucks park on them sometimes for days to carry out maintenance work, change diesel thereby pouring some on the roads.
He described this practice as a threat to the safety and life span of the roads.
Engineer Adebiyi said, “The Heavy duty trucks park on the shoulders of the road and carry out maintenance work thereby spoiling the roads.
The parking on the road is a threat to the safety of our roads, in addition, our people still over speed.”
The Director pointed out that from the reports of the Federal Road Safety Commission, reckless driving accounts for about 35% of road accidents while bad roads account for only 1.3%.
Engineer Adebiyi said when the roads were bad, people were clamouring for the repairs but now that they are being fixed, over speeding, overloading and reckless driving have become threats to life.
The Director also spoke on the misconception by some members of the public that the Umuomi – Awka road in Anambra State was a 3 carriageway. He explained that what makes it look like a 3 carriageway was the pavement, which had been redesigned to strengthen the shoulders of the road into hard core due to heavy duty trucks plying the road.
Engineer Adebiyi said “Because of the heavy duty trucks that pass there we now redesigned the pavement so that the shoulders are now hard core.” “They are designed to carry the same weight as the 2 carriageway.”
He further said, “What we have in the current situation is that the drivers now run on the shoulder but as they approach the flyover, it closes down into 2 lanes, they don’t realize that what they were using was not actually a carriageway but a shoulder and erroneously conclude that the Engineers were reducing the width of the road to 2 instead of 3 carriageways.”
The Director, who also noted that people were complaining that the pavement was not marked, said binders are not marked until pavement is completed just as a house is not painted until plastering is done.
He explained further that the reason why the pavement is opened for use even as work is yet to be completed is to ensure smooth traffic flow and test running of the under laying materials while using it so that if there is any error it would be detected and promptly corrected while the engineers were still there.
He disclosed that the Ministry was taking steps to do the shoulder markings, adding that a mini speed breaker would also be put in place to check over speeding.
Engineer Adebiyi said that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housig have projects in virtually every section of the trunk A roads which run across the country with Engineers in each of the sections working simultaneously.
He added that every state of the Federation had a Federal Controller of Works, who reports to the Zonal Controller, who in turn reports to him, adding that the structure allows steady delivery of work.