By Chris Chimezie
Adoption of soil solution method of constructing Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) has been described as a way out of poor road infrastructure across the state, and capable of enabling farmers get their agricultural produce to the markets with ease.
To this end, the first phase of the 500 Kilometre roads under RAMP at Molege village in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State is getting ready for showcase to the World Bank which is a crucial partner of RAMP.
The demonstration is coming on the heels of the application of a soil solution enzyme in place of conventional asphalt overlay on the road which will terminate in Ute, Ose Local Government Area.
Introducing the soil solution technology road compactment and solidity to the Governor, an official of Soil Solution from South Africa, Engr Wayne Marden said the application of the solution to the road would help it solidified adding that its durability is of higher standard.
He said the method involves the application of an enzyme, otherwise known as the Engineering Based Stabilizer (EBS) which is a proprietary product of Soil solutions which has been tested in countries like Kenya and South Africa with the capability to carry trucks after completion.
Earlier, a Consultant to the State Government on the project and an official of SAO Capital, Mr Temitope Runsewe, said the EBS solution would keep the top surface solidly intact for about ten years.
Runsewe who assured that the EBS would cost between 40 and 50 percent less than what the traditional asphalt solution would cost, added that Ondo State is the first state to use it on its road in Nigeria but hinted that the solution is popular in countries like South Africa and Kenya.
He explained that the method is a pilot alternative initiative solution to road construction that would enable the country cover more kilometers of roads at a very low cost using the solution.
Also, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SAO CAPITAL, Mr Ayo Sotinrin, said the solution which is dust suppressant, when applied on the road, would be left for about an hour to dry up after which it would be opened for road traffic.
Describing the maintenance as very light and cheap, he said it would be carried out in every 12-18 months by spraying the EBS solution on the road surface.
He however, hinted that his Company is at the site to ensure that the product would be applied properly, skills would be transferred to the site engineers and that youths in the community would be employed through the project.
Responding, Governor Akeredolu said the gesture was part of his election promises to construct rural roads that would enable farmers get their farm produce to the market with ease.
He said Government adopted the new method of road construction discovered in South Africa and in the US to replace the asphalt method that in cases, are being washed away during rainy seasons.
The Governor explained that after the state government’s efforts, it succeeded in bringing down a South African Company, SAO CAPITAL which is demonstrating the Engineering Based Stabilizer (EBS) solution method that solidifies the road with the capability of lasting for over 10 years.
“We are convinced that this is the solution to some of our roads. We know of a fact that to get this roads asphalted will cost huge amount of money.
“With this method, we will spend about 40 percent less of money, if we were to asphalt the road and it will still last the same number of years or more if asphalted.
“The company is beginning with 1km and the US company too will start with 1km to ascertain the effect of the enzyme solution after which we would invite RAMP and the World Bank to inspect it and if certified okay, then other states would be enjoined to adopt the method”, he said.
The Governor, who maintained that the state is the first in the country where the new technology would be used for road construction, added that the state government is trying to blaze the trail and see how best it can have rural access mobility that would afford farmers easy access to their farms.
Briefing Governor Akeredolu on the project, the State Project Cordinator of RAMP, Engr Zaccheaus Olorunegan said 5.35 Kilometres of the full length of the road which is 12.5 Kilometres had been completed with ten culverts.
He added that opening up the agrarian communities remain one of the priorities of the present administration in the state towards ensuring that farm produce gets to markets faster in the overall benefit of farmers.
Some residents of the community who are mainly farmers, Memunat Yakubu, Alabi Sunday and Abdumalik Jamiu appreciated the Governor for fulfilling his promise by constructing the road which has made farming more attractive to them, as they can easily transport their produce to the markets without suffering.