To improve road networks in Delta State, the authorities said it have embarked on 71 road projects at a total cost of N32.9 billion between May 2015 and November 2016.
The State Commissioner for Works, Mr. James Augoye, who spoke in Asaba at a ministerial press briefing explained that over 282 kilometres of roads and 136 km of concrete lined drains have been constructed by Okowa-led administration since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
He said the value of projects being handled by the ministry including those inherited from the previous administration, which amounted to about N100billion and cover about 381 km of roads.
Contributing his Information counterpart, Mr. Patrick Ukah and the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Festus Ovie Agas said that the government intended to increase the length of all-weather roads in the state from the estimated current level of 2, 550 km to a minimum target total length of 5,000km through the construction of new roads and maintenance as well as rehabilitation of existing roads.
On his part, the state Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Joseph Ogieh revealed that many of the ministries, departments and agencies of the state government are still occupying rented apartments across various parts of the state apparently due to the shortage of office accommodation in the two existing state secretariat complexes.
Ogieh said plans were already in top gear to address the issue with the construction of a modern five to seven-floor secretariat complex in the state capital.
In related development, the State Government has announced the stoppage of payments of 25 per cent mobilisation fee to contractors handling various road projects in the state.
Augoye said this during a meeting with contractors in Asaba, the state capital said: “Mobilisation is like a loan, you get paid according to the certificates you raised. Don’t be deceived by our field engineers into shoddy jobs because we will not tolerate that. If you don’t have access to equipment we will not tolerate that.”
Augoye disclosed the repudiation of no fewer than sixteen road contracts in the last one month for failure to adhere to specifications, saying government do not repudiate without legal advise from its legal department.
According to the Commissioner, “There is a serious issue regarding road contraction in the state. Some of you are yet to mobilize to site. We are worried because the dry season is short. The governor wants the expedition of all roads contracts. This is a twenty first century; we cannot tolerate any shoddy job. You must have the accurate measurements of stone based.”
According to him, while the government was making effort to pay the contractors, it discovered that most of them do not have work plans making it difficult to properly access.
Meanwhile, following the impact of active gully erosion on the Ogwashi-Uku portion of the Asaba-Ughelli Federal Road, motorists plying the road have expressed fear over the possible collapse of the affected part of the road.
They appealed to the state government to come to their aid, by fixing the bad spots, which has become a death trap, to the users. Reacting to the plea, the State Commissioner for Works, explained that the State Government had sought approval to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Urban Development in order to ensure speedy repairs of the bad portion of the road.