Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa is the Kaduna State Commissioner, Public Works and Infrastructure. In this interview with Daily Trust, she highlights the reasons the state government went into massive urban renewal projects.
In Kaduna metropolis, there is a lot of work going on under the urban renewal project but one of the things motorists face is congestion as a result of this ongoing project; what is your ministry doing to ameliorate this?
We are aware of the problem; the reason for the urban renewal is because of the congestion and the difficulty motorists face in navigating the road in Kaduna metropolis. The urban infrastructure that existed then can no longer cater for the mass population that we have in Kaduna today. We are dealing with over 1.5 million people in the metropolis alone and that is huge.
We have a continually growing population in the urban areas because people like to move to urban areas because of commerce, family situation and what not. Let us not forget that Kaduna was formerly the capital of the Northern region, so, it is a place where people like to settle, visit and do business and because of these we have no choice but to upgrade the infrastructure in order to cater for the growing population. Not just the population of today but going forward.
Now, the construction and rehabilitation that you are seeing is to take care of the congestion we have talked about. To reduce the congestion, we have in place a traffic management committee that was set up by the infrastructure development council of the state. The traffic management committee is an interdisciplinary and interagency one. We have not only the road agency in the ministry for public works but also have the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA), Kaduna State Geographic System (KADGIS), the media, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Kaduna State Traffic Law Enforcement Agency (KASTLEA). The traffic management committee has been able to work and identify how we can help manage the fallout from the construction.
We have identified diversions and alternative routes that people can follow so as not to get stuck in traffic. We are also sensitizing the general public on all those different diversions.
One of the problems motorists encounter along the roads being constructed is lack of signages notifying them of diversions, is this being factored into your plan?
Through the traffic management committee, we have asked Kaduna Road Agency (KADRA) to make sure that the signages are done because it has been a problem where motorists do not know that there are diversions on the road and just stumble across them.
The issue of trailers parking on the road in Mararaban Jos and Tafa is worrisome, there used to be a proposed trailer park, has the project been abandoned?
No, it has not been abandoned; we are developing two trailer parks, one at Mararaban Jos, the other one at Tafa. The first phase of the one at Mararaban Jos has been completed which can take 150 tankers and if the second phase is complete, it will be able to take 250 tankers. Mararaban Jos trailer park will be open and trailers can begin to park there and the governor has declared that the first month will be free for all the trailers to park and afterwards, we can begin to implement the regulation that they can no longer park along the highways.
Tafa trailer park will take a little longer, we had a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with a contractor that did not do well, so we have just terminated the contract and given it to someone else and the contractor is hard at work and I believe that by the end of February, if all things go well, the Tafa trailer park will be ready and it will reduce the congestion caused by trailers.