The Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, and construction giants, Julius Berger, have explained how the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, could be repaired without complete closure of the airport.
The managing director of Julius Berger, Wolfgang Goetsch, on Tuesday said in his submission before the Senate that the work might take more than two years if the airport were to remain open during the renovation work.
“It can be shut down in the night. The spot can be repaired in the morning and temporarily given back for usage.
“But the state of the runway in Abuja, extent of damage and deterioration… The whole runway from one end to the other end is damaged.
“This means that if the method of spot repair is loose, you start from one side of the runway, lock it in the night and in the morning to open it up for traffic.
“There is absolutely no option than to close the runway for these six weeks because it is not a repair work. It is a new construction of the whole surface of the building.
“On our end, we guarantee that within the 6 weeks, the repair work is done. This is subject to the fulfilment of the obligation of all stakeholders.
“Under the leadership of the Minister of State for Aviation, all stakeholders are on board.
“Everything is going on very smoothly according to plan and there is no doubt that the obligation of all stakeholders is fulfilled,” Mr. Goetsch said.
Also speaking on Tuesday, the president of the NSE, Otis Anyaeji, said it was possible to conduct the reconstruction of the runway without closing the airport.
He said the society recommended for the runway to be re-constructed without closing the airport using segmented approach and known safety risk management procedures.
Mr. Anyaeji stated that closing the airport was like shutting down the country.
“The society insists that it should be reconstructed immediately,” he said.
According to him, absence of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, meant lack of excess runway capacity to temporarily close down the only runway for repair.