Lokoja - The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated sections one and two of the expanded Lokoja - Benin Expressway.
The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, who performed the inauguration, said it was part of the government’s efforts to open up the country's arterial roads and boost economic activities.
Section one of the project, covering Obajana to Okene, estimated to cost N11.66 billion would be handled by CGC Nigeria Ltd., while section two, from Okene to Auchi, costing N11.09 billion, would be handled by Mother-Cat Nigeria Ltd.
Onolememen assured that the funding of the expansion of the Abuja - Lokoja highway by the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) would accelerate the completion of the road.
The minister noted that the project was a continuation of the on-going expansion of parts of Route A2 (Abuja-Lokoja), assuring that the project would be completed on schedule.
He said that the project was part of carrying out the agenda of the present administration in opening up the six geo-political zones of the country through constructing arterial roads.
He said: "when the project is completed, Mr President would have delivered on his promise to link the six geo-political zones with dual carriageways.
``With availability of funds, it is expected that this project will be completed within the next 30 months."
The minister urged contractors handling the projects to utilise local human resources, appealing to leaders in Kogi and Edo to take possession of the projects through effective supervision.
Onolememen warned communities along the roads not to bug down the contractors with "frivolous litigations".
He added that the road projects were structured to improve economic activities in communities and ease vehicular movements.
``To this end, we call upon the traditional institutions and the people of Kogi and Edo States to give the contractors all the necessary support for the full realisation of this project."
Speaking during the inauguration of the first section, the Kogi Governor, Capt. Idris Wada, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Yomi Awoniyi, lauded the renewed commitment of the administration to building road infrastructure.
He said that the on-going Abuja-Lokoja road expansion project was commendable.
He, however, called on the Federal Government to also expand the Obajana - Kabba road, suggesting that toll gates should be introduced on the road.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that both projects are to be completed in 2014.