Punch reports that stakeholders in the built environment have said that adequate road infrastructure is critical to economic growth and development, as road transportation accounts for about 90 per cent of all freight and passenger movements in the country.
Based on this, there have been calls for more investment in concrete roads, which professionals say can save the government several billions of naira due to their longevity and low maintenance qualities.
The Head, Road Segment, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Femi Yusuf, said there was a need for relevant stakeholders to begin to think of how to make roads last longer, adding that one of such ways was investing in concrete roads.
“A concrete road lasts for 30 years or more compared to an asphalt road that lasts an average of 15 years before it begins to fail, and the life cycle cost of concrete pavement is lower than asphalt with a ratio of about 6:7,” he said.
According to him, the country already has the product, methodology and the manpower to construct more of concrete roads.
Yusuf said Lafarge Africa was working on partnering the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute and financial institutions on the way forward.
The Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Michel Puchercos, stated that with a road network estimated at nearly 200,000 kilometres, Nigeria’s national road network was the largest in West Africa and the second largest, south of the Sahara.
Puchercos said at a recent summit on concrete solutions for road construction in the country that road infrastructure was at the core of good governance and public welfare.
He noted that current road infrastructure would adequately support and propel the economy in the right direction, adding that concerns had also been expressed about the quality, maintenance culture, the design and innovative construction solutions being deployed in construction of roads in the country.
According to him, to further compound the situation, government’s dwindling revenues at the federal and state levels mean stakeholders must get creative in addressing the issue.
He said, “It is probably the time for a more aggressive public-private sector approach to road construction in Nigeria. There are also pertinent questions begging for answers. Why is the lifespan of roads in Nigeria rather short? Are we paying adequate attention to soil texture and road stabilisation in the construction of roads? Should we be considering more concrete solutions for road construction in Nigeria?
“As a member of the LafargeHolcim Group, the largest concrete and building solutions company in the world, Lafarge Africa Plc surely has verifiable solutions for road construction in Nigeria. However, we cannot go it alone. What we are dealing with is an issue that is very much beyond one stakeholder. It is a challenge for cement and concrete producers in Nigeria, just as it is a challenge for contractors, consultants, financial institutions, development agencies and indeed, all road users.”
The Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun, said that with the federal and respective state governments grappling with dwindling resources, it had become crucial for the firm to convene a forum of public and private sector players to brainstorm on issues of funding, partnerships, design and quality of roads in the country.
He added, “For sure, government can no longer do it alone. We all agree that roads are at the core of infrastructural provision in any modern society. Beyond funding, we need to critically examine our present approach to road construction and maintenance in Nigeria with the ultimate goal of ensuring that the lifespan of Nigerian roads is considerably higher than it is today.
“Present day economic challenges require that we become far more creative in deploying human and material resources for road construction in Nigeria. It has also become expedient that we broaden the scope of public-private sector collaboration on road construction.”