Stakeholders in the construction industry on Thursday called on the government to reconsider its current approach to road construction which is largely asphalt-based, pushing for concrete-based option, as the country is tending towards self-sufficiency in cement production.
According to them, Nigeria has poor quality roads, explaining that less than 0.1 percent of roads in Nigeria are cement-based, compared to 40 percent in developed countries.
At the National Conference on Exploring Cement Based Option for Sustainable Road Construction in Nigeria organised by the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN) in conjunction with BusinessDay, Joe Hudson, Managing Director/CEO, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, noted that as against Nigeria’s asphalt option for road construction, the rest of the world are changing to the new approach which is cement-based.
“The technology being used for road construction across the world has attracted a lot of inputs from cement-based materials as against the use of asphalt, and Nigeria needs to imbibe this new approach to road construction”, he said, adding that “the benefits of using cement-based materials are enormous”.
Robert Rodden, Director of Technical Services and Product Development, American Concrete Pavement Association, in his presentation on Concrete Pavements – The Global Experience, disclosed that the use of concrete pavements is desirable, explaining that it is more durable and requires less maintenance than asphalt and is becoming increasingly popular globally.
“In the last five years, there has been a radical shift towards the use of concrete-based pavements across the world largely because they last longer and cost less in the long-term”, he noted.
On whether concrete-based pavements are robust to the different soil-types in the country, Rodden explained that with proper design, analysis and construction, concrete-based solutions can still be effectively utilised.
Joseph Makoju, Chairman, CMAN, in his opening remarks assured of availability of cement to cater for the new approach to road construction, revealing that cement production in Nigeria has increased tremendously from 3 million metric tons in 2006 to 28 million metric tons at the moment.
Makoju added that cement manufacturers are increasingly expanding capacity, anticipating self-sufficiency in cement production and possible export to African countries by 2015.
Explaining the high cost of cement, the CMAN president also assured that with increased production and economy of scale, price will drop with prospects of job creation.