Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has expressed his commitment to bridging infrastructure gap in Benin City as well as other parts of the state, noting that urban renewal projects will ensure adequate infrastructure is provided to open up different parts of the state.
The governor said this when he inspected ongoing road projects in Obakhavbaye, Basimi, Arala, Okunbor, Asemota and Burmar streets as well as the construction of Irhirhi Road in Benin City.
Meanwhile, the governor has set aside N42.719 billion for infrastructural development in the proposed 2019 budget. He has also set modalities to set up a road maintenance agency in the state to ensure prompt intervention when roads go bad.
During the road inspection, Obaseki was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq, Chief of Staff to the governor, Taiwo Akerele, Special Adviser on Political and Community Affairs Chief Osaro Idah, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Hon. Osahon Amiolemen and other top government functionaries.
The governor said he was impressed with the work done so far on the roads inspected, especially the Irhirhi Road, noting "I have been told that the first 4km of the Irhirhi Road construction will be completed before Christmas which means that people living on this portion of the road will enjoy the road as the area will be accessible."
He added that with the huge population expected in the area, there is the possibility of expanding the road at the entrance, while alternative routes may be constructed to accommodate the influx of people.
"We have embarked on massive reconstruction of roads across the city in the last two weeks. We have mobilised contractors across the larger Benin Metropolitan area as we are rehabilitating over 100 roads. Work is also ongoing in Edo Central and Edo North senatorial districts."
Obaseki said the key challenge in road construction in the city is that of the environment as the area, a rainforest zone, used to hold water better with trees and other features that cover the soil. He noted that due to the massive deforestation, the soil barely holds water anymore.
"We will build more drainages as new roads being constructed now have drainages to take out all the water. But for the populated areas, we will look for innovative solutions".
Senior Residence Engineer at the site, Fate Oneavbiene, said the road construction will go through Irhirhi, Aruogba, Obazagbon, Obagie-N'Evbuosa, Ogheghe.
He explained that the road is a link road between Benin - Sapele Road and Airport Road. "The take-off point is by Airport Road by ADP junction while the project will terminate at Benin - Sapele Road. The project is 18.5km long."
The governor who announced the creation of a road agency during the 2019 budget proposal presentation at the state House of Assembly, said, "Much as we are intensifying effort to complete reconstruction of roads across the state, we are also ready to commence new ones to close the infrastructure gap in the state. Work on the roads will be ramped up during the dry season. Other necessary infrastructure to complement our investment drive will also be catered for. As a result, N42.719 billion has been earmarked for infrastructure development to drive economic activities.
"One area of emphasis will be maintenance. A road maintenance agency will be set up and properly funded to ensure prompt intervention and save the huge cost of repair and damage.