The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing says it will evacuate trucks and trailers from the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway to ease congestion on the road.
Folorunsho Esan, Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee for Evacuation of Trucks and Trailers Along the Right of Ways, disclosed this during an inspection tour along the road on Friday.
Mr Esan, who is also the Director, Highways, Construction and Rehabilitation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, said the ministry would provide a temporary park at Tafa, along Kaduna road, where the vehicles can park.
He said that the park which would accommodate about 500 trucks would help address the problems of road access and insecurity in the area.
“The Committee was set up by the Minister of Works and Housing with directive from the president for trucks to be evacuated from the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road so that the contractors can take full possession of work on the road.
“Also, road users can have freed passage without bottlenecks. So we are here to inspect facilities that are available were trucks can now be moved to.
“One of the very pronounced bottleneck is in Tafa and fortunately enough, we have an empty land acquired by FERMA although they have not been able to do anything on it.
“But we are thinking of moving the trucks from Tafa to that plot of land after some ground improvements on the land for trailers to be able to stay without sinking,” he said.
Mr Esan added that the committee would also look for land in other areas along the road were trucks are causing congestion.
He said various unions like NATO, NURTW, Tanker Drivers and others have continued to collaborate with the government to move their trucks from the road anytime soon.
He said the committee envisages that by the end of the year, all trucks must have left the road.
Kamal Kaawache, Site Manager, Julius Berger Nigeria for the Section 1, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road Project, said a stone based filling of the park would be suitable considering the weight of the trucks.
He said that due to the challenges that the new park may bring, there is also the need to put in place a Bitumen Stabilised Materials, BSM, to make the park stronger for the trucks and trailers to park.
Responding, the District Head of Jere, Yusuf Suleiman, promised to give the ministry and concerned stakeholders necessary support that would lead to the permanent evacuation of trucks and trailers from the road.
Suleiman Danzaki, Senior Special Assistant to the National Union and Road Traffic Worker, NURTW, on Inter-governmental and International Matters, said the committee should avoid a situation where movement will be abandoned after the park is provided.
He recalled that a park was acquired by the then Kashir Local Government, now Kagarko Local Government, but was not put due to reasons beyond the control of the local government.
Also, Abdullahi Haruna, the representative of the Petroleum Tanker Driver Association, Kaduna Refinery, said that there was the need to make the park conducive for the users through the provision of basic facilities like borehole, toilets and canteens.
Mr Haruna pledged that petrol tanker drivers are ready to work with the committee to evacuate trucks from the road.
“If we have a space to park, definitely you will not see trucks on the road and we are ready to leave the road even within a week if provided space,” he said.