Worried by the condition of Nigeria’s road network, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has painted a gloomy picture of the roads and highways, saying they have expired, with little or no capacity needed to utilise.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nuruddeen Rafindadi, said some of the roads, regrettably, had exceeded their lifespan.
Rafindadi spoke through the Kaduna Head of FERMA, Atiku Sadiq, at the weekend, on the topic ‘Utilisation of Our Highway Capacity, Prospects and Challenges’ at the 10th public lecture and presentation of awards organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Kaduna branch.
He said: “Most of the nation’s highways have expired. What we are doing now is managing expired highways that are supposed to last 15, 20 and at most 25 years. But we are having highways that were built to last for 40, 50 to 60 years. We need to devise a way of maintaining our roads and it requires planning.
“Despite the noticeable benefits of highway development to the socio-economic and political affluence of Nigeria and its huge capital investment, highway transportation is still faced with numerous management and operational challenges in the country.”
These challenges, according to the engineer, majorly stem from man-made and natural causes, which could be deficiencies in the supply and distribution of traffic; inadequate provision of infrastructural facilities, faulty carriageways, poorly-designed or unavailable drainage systems, thus causing washing away of pavements, collapsed hydraulic structures, and noticeable surface failures.
On the way forward, the FERMA boss said: “The most effective way to maintain operational capacity of roadway is to ensure preventive maintenance to nip failures in the bud and sustain pavement surface maintenance and keep the carriageway in serviceable condition. This is only possible with enough funding, adequate and well-trained manpower, as well as creating awareness and adequate education of drivers, especially commercial, on-road discipline.
“With the nation’s interstate highway system, mostly rehabilitated, the funding focus should be gradually shifting from new construction to maintaining, preserving and rehabilitating our highway assets.
“Preserving and managing the nation’s highways is a challenge; so transportation professionals and academics should investigate and develop local tools and techniques to assist in managing and maintaining the capacities of these valuable assets to ensure adequate utilisation and satisfaction.”