Minister of Works Clarifies Federal Road Construction Techniques. No Controversy Over Asphalt vs Concrete Use, he has reinforced the Ministry’s stance regarding the choice between asphalt or concrete in the construction of federal roads across Nigeria. He stressed that there is no controversy surrounding the issue but emphasized that each technology has specific conditions applicable to its use on Nigerian roads.

During a courtesy call from the national leadership of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, led by President Tasiu Wudil in Abuja, Umahi reiterated six key policies guiding road construction. He clarified the Ministry’s position, stating that it’s not a matter of comparing asphalt and concrete pavements but rather ensuring that contractors adhere to specific conditions based on the terrain.

Umahi highlighted the importance of this clarification due to multiple factors arising regarding the preference for concrete technology, emphasizing that these choices should be comprehended by professionals rather than individuals lacking expertise in the field.

The Ministry’s stance, as disclosed by Umahi and conveyed through statements by the Chief Press Secretary, Orji Uchenna, and Assistant Director of Information, Media, and Public Relations, Clement Ezeorah, underscores that contractors using either asphalt or concrete must adhere to conditions aligned with the terrain.

The Minister explained, “We are not just comparing asphalt and concrete; no, that is not what we are doing. First of all, for the use of asphalt, these are the conditions; also, for the use of concrete, these are the conditions, but there are certain terrains in states that we stress must use concrete; we cannot change that.”

He pointed out the significant price fluctuations between asphalt and concrete, with asphalt prices increasing geometrically compared to the arithmetic progression of concrete costs. Umahi highlighted the caution needed in the Federal Government’s funding of projects, considering the Ministry of Works’ budgetary allocations.

Expressing concern over inadequate supervision of public works, Umahi pledged to collaborate with the Nigerian Society of Engineers to curb malpractice and enhance the quality of engineering services, especially in federal road projects.

The Minister outlined the Federal Government’s efforts to ensure quality construction works, emphasizing six policies to guide road construction projects nationwide:

  1. Establishing a stabilized and tested subgrade and sub-base course before pavement placement.
  2. Subjecting subgrade, sub-base, and base course to 60 days of vehicular movement and continuous sheep-foot rolling before pavement placement.
  3. Introducing reinforced concrete road pavement in most roads’ carriageways and shoulders.
  4. Ensuring continuous maintenance of all roads under construction throughout the project’s lifespan under contract.
  5. Implementing effective road infrastructure design based on detailed reports of environmental site conditions and geotechnical reports.
  6. Maintaining community relations to keep roads motorable throughout the contract period.

Umahi concluded by emphasizing the need to move away from the conventional approach in road construction, aiming for quality delivery across all road projects nationwide.