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Twenty years in ruins, Jos-Kaduna road to get facelift

In trying to avoid potholes on the bad road, two cars almost collide
In trying to avoid potholes on the bad road, two cars almost collide

An important highway linking two important cities, Jos and Kaduna has laid in ruins for two decades, dampening life in towns and communities along the road.

Daily Trust reports on the state of the road and yet another attempt to fix it.

For about 20 years now, the deplorable state of the Jos-Kaduna highway has forced motorists to find alternative routes between the two cities.

The highway, which is a federal government road, has caused damages to cars, made journeys longer and contributes to the rise in criminal activities along the road as cars slowing down to avoid potholes are easy targets for highwaymen.

Long stretches of road are untarred because the old tar, whose structural integrity has failed, has been washed away, while the other stretches are dotted with potholes that could cause accidents.

Promises by the government to fix the road have not yet materialised, forcing a good number of motorists to seek alternative routes.

 

The road

The road in question (from the Jos end) takes off properly from the permanent site of the University of Jos, and then cuts through Mista Ali, Zobolo and then Jingre, which borders Plateau and Kaduna states.

The Kaduna end then commences from Federe, Corner Border, Saminaka, Ungwan Bawa, Kayarda, Yarkasuwa, Kudaru, Pambeguwa, Dandaura, Gadan Gaya, Turunku and Maraban-Jos, before bursting out at the Kaduna-Zaria expressway.

The alternative route from the Jos end is through Anguldi, Kuru and Ganawuri, which borders the two states.

The Kaduna end begins from Zankan,  Manchok, Zonkwa, Kachia, Kasuwan Magani, Kujama, Maraban Rido before bursting out at the NNPC Junction which links to Kaduna metropolis and environs.

Pius Sauri, a resident of Zobolo, who lives along the deplorable road, said the road has been in poor conditions for the past 20 years, saying there were attempts in 2002 to patch up some of the potholes.

Recently, some government agency took interest in the road.

However, Pius, 57, said the agency’s intervention this March has left the road in an even poorer state as they removed the top layer and left without replacing it.

“Plying the road now often causes tiredness and body pains to occupants of any car because of its terrible state,” Pius said.

“Even big cars and dignitaries who have plied it have had sad tales, no matter the condition and sophistication of their cars.

“Even many government functionaries have complained.”

According to Pius, there are far more grievous consequences caused by the state of the road.

“Many cars have had accidents and many lives have been lost.

“Recently there were multiple accidents, and what normally causes them is drivers trying to avoid potholes by navigating the better parts of the road, or a bend with potholes drivers couldn’t see from afar,” he said.

“Also, hoodlums and thieves have taken advantage of the poor state of the road to unleash criminal activities on the road.

“Robberies, kidnappings, etc, have been recurring, and the criminals often succeed because the vehicles don’t move fast on the road, thereby making it easy for them to be waylaid.”

He lamented that such road, which is the foremost Kaduna-Jos route could be so abandoned, leading to the collapse of economic and social activities in the communities along the road.

Abubakar Jibrin is a commercial motorcyclist who lives in Jingre.

He is in his early 20s and said the road has been in that state ever since he could remember.

Growing up, he said, he never knew how important the road was until a few years back and wondered if the government still remembers the road.

He said he had never seen motorists plying the road twice without suffering some kind of breakdown, especially arising from the tyres or shock absorbers.

From time to time, different individuals, groups, government officials, etc, come round to check the road and take photographs, thereby raising the hopes that the road would be fixed in a short time but eventually, nothing happens.

During the rainy season, the road condition worsens as the potholes fill up with water, causing more cars to bump into them.

According to Abubakar, those who ply the road are often caught up in long hold ups and become easy prey for hoodlums, saying government needs to come to the aid of people by fixing the road and checking criminality along the route.

 

‘It’s illogical for states to intervene’

The Plateau State Commissioner for Works, Pam Boatmang, said the road is a federal road and it will not be logical for the states (Plateau and Kaduna) to intervene unduly.

According to him, when states intervene and construct federal roads, reimbursement is often a challenge, adding that there are other state roads/other state projects yearning for attention and the state is responding to them accordingly.

He said he is aware however that the contract for the road has been awarded,  and that something will be done surely, adding that both states will link up with the federal controller of works to update them.

He also promised to call the attention of security agencies to tackle insecurity on the road.

However, the federal controller of works, Plateau State, Engineer Usman Abubakar, whose ministry is in charge of the road’s partial reconstruction said there are four construction companies working on the road and that all the portions have been duly shared out for them to work on.

He said work is on top gear as all the contractors are now fully on site with a mandate for each to finish their portion within three months, adding that their area of work coverage ends at the border, and will not extend into Kaduna State.

The first contract was awarded in March 2020 and the initial contractor is trying to get everything into place to mobilize to site.

According to him, the COVID-19 lockdown did not help matters as it made it difficult for them to get those working on the road to site but now everything has been resolved and all the contractors are fully on ground  and each working hard to meet their three months deadline.

He named the four construction campanies as Rick Rock, Q-System, Decency and Defensive, stressing that he is satisfied with their work, but anyone who defaulted would face consequences.

The contract was awarded at about N1.5 billion, and within the next few months, the Plateau State end of the road is expected to be completed, and the rest would be up to Kaduna to complete its end.

He called on motorists plying the road to cooperate with the construction companies and slow down to avoid any unforeseen occurrences.

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