Nigeria to improve road infrastructure standards

Golfa Francis, Abuja

Governments at all levels in Nigeria are working towards raising the country’s transport infrastructure, especially road signage, to acceptable global standard.

The National Council on Works at their recent meeting in Abuja said the initiative was aimed at aiding mobility across the country in order to reduce the incidence of road accidents and ensure comfort and safety for travellers on the nation’s highways.

In a Communiqué at the end of the Meeting, the Council noted that installation of modern signage on the country’s highways would reduce the high rate of road carnage being recorded on the highways yearly.

Urging the Governments to assist research bodies in the country to conduct more research in the production of road signage, the Council called on stakeholders to increase funding for the provision of the signage and conduct sensitization programmes to enlighten the public on their use.

In order to ensure effective monitoring of traffic on the highways, it called on all Governments to approve the use of reflect meter as a quality monitoring device on the highways while urging them to install ICT cameras and Traffic Aids Posts for recording traffic violations and to enforce compliance by road users.

The Council recommended the use of survey techniques of Radio Direction and Ranging and Light Direction and Ranging in monitoring traffic signage, checking vehicular movement and recording of traffic offences such as flouting the speed limits, beating of traffic lights and failures to respect traffic signage such as zebra crossing, among others.

Noting that indiscriminate use of billboards and other forms of adverts on road signage constitutes a menace on the highways, it urged all stakeholders to sensitize the public on the negative consequences of defacement, damage and removal of traffic signs on Nigerian roads

It also called for the establishment of Monitoring and Enforcement Units at Federal and State levels to ensure adherence to the use of road signs, urging government at all levels to adopt the use of modern and standard traffic calming techniques such as impediment/ traffic diversion and standard road bumps.

Other road furniture recommended by the Council to improve safety and comfort on the highways include Survey Techniques used to demarcate, survey and ensure compliance to the Right of Way and Solar Road Studs, which, are visible up to 800 meters in the night, thereby warning drivers at road sections.

New technology

It encouraged stakeholders to be proactive in adapting new technologies such as performance retro-reflective materials for all road markings in order to advance road safety while they accepted that in all new bridge projects, the crash barriers should be made up of dwarf concrete walls and metal barriers.

On the importance of seeking alternative funding means for sustainable maintenance of street lighting and other road infrastructure the Council, listed such alternative funding means to include Public Private Partnership, the Special Energy Efficiency Lighting Fund, the Carbon reduction fund, approving that adequate budgetary provisions be made for the provision of signage infrastructure.

In line with the its call on Governments to direct their relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to provide geo-spatial data for positioning and location of road signage, the Council approved that such geo-spatial data be provided by the use of modern survey techniques by the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation and the Offices of the Surveyors – General of the States.

It noted that such Geo-spatial information would create a database for national signage for emplacement, monitoring and maintenance of highways furniture and infrastructure adding that all State Governments that were yet to establish Asset Management Units to focus on building database of road furniture and road signage should do so.

The council commending the effort of the Yobe State Government in the establishment of computerized Vehicle Inspection Centres and Model Driving Schools, urging others that are yet to establish such Centres and Driving Schools to do so to provide better education for road users.

It also urged relevant government agencies to ensure regular review of Road Signs System to conform with the 1968 United Nations Convention.

The Council expressed delight that several jobs would be created among skilled and semi-skilled artisans through the adoption of the new technologies in the production of modern signage.

And in order to make education of road users on the use of advance road signage more effective, the Council suggested that the enlightenment be done in local languages by the Federal Road Safety Corps and Vehicle Inspection Officers in motor parks, places of worship, palaces of traditional rulers and other relevant places.

The Council Meeting was presided over by the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and senior officials of relevant Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders responsible for Works matters in the States.