The Federal Government has backtracked on its decision to construct all federal roads using only rigid concrete pavement.
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, disclosed the policy reversal during a meeting with all contractors at the ministry headquarters on Thursday.
This latest development comes several months after the minister directed all contractors handling Federal Government highways across the country to immediately dump the use of asphalt and adopt concrete technology.
The announcement, which was met with stiff resistance from contractors, stalled the completion of several road projects, including the Benin-Warri dual carriageway and Benin-Sapele sections 1-3 in Delta State, the Maraba-Keffi road expansion in Nasarawa State, and the Minna-Zungeru-Tegina-Kontagora road in Niger State, amongst others.
But Umahi, meeting with all contractors in Abuja on Thursday, the third of its kind since the minister assumed office in August 2023, said the government didn’t ban the use of asphalt but was trying to cut down on its geometric pricing.
He, however, gave a caveat that specific road projects will be constructed using concrete pavement.
He said, “We have not banned the use of asphalt, but we would have to moderate the escalation of asphalt prices.
“But in 2024 going forward, some projects will still be on asphat with the shoulders on concrete, while some critical roads will be fully on concrete.
“There are some places that we must make our roads fully concrete, and I won’t accept asphalt on those roads. This is very important.
“We have banned surface dressing on all our “roads; whether you are doing asphalt or full concrete, no more surface dressing. Because it doesn’t help. It is the source of failures on our roads.
The former Ebonyi State governor further instructed all contractors to return to the site, assuring that the government has made adequate provision of funds for the construction of roads in the 2024 budget.
Continuing, the Minister charged the contractors to complete 150km of roads in 36 states and the federal capital territory FCT in 2024.
The 5,550-kilometer road network target, when added together, is the minimum for the year.
The target excludes palliative work and other special projects embarked upon by the federal government.