The Superhighway is a projects I’m beginning to have confidence in. Lately the governor’s rants about the superhighway is beginning to be a pain on the ass. I don’t know if anybody has been following up with the government bulk messages by Emmanuel Ulayi.
For the benefit of doubts, let me first start by congratulating HE Ben Ayade for that conceptual framework of the Superhighway. Intellectually, it is the best product of a great mind.
Civil engineering technologies do actually make difficult terrain almost very easy with their constructions. I believe, one needs to understand the geological impediments before civil architectural design concepts are developed. So far, I believe the governor is out of sync with these realities.
Let’s take the first bulk SMS from the state government about their Superhighway:
1. “Some unique features of Gov. Ayade’s super highway – First tunnel Road in Nigeria with first satellite antenna”.
This is one of the first bulk SMS telling Cross Riverians about the features of the Superhighway. I like tunnels. Driving through a tunnel is sweet.
That momentary deafness and reverberation of the engines of the cars making a hummy sound in the tunnel is always a sweet force I like so much.
The engineering capabilities of man to break difficult terrain and conquer it is also wonderful. And in the case of Dongbei Lu tunnel leading to my house in China, with its millions of incandescent lights, is just too relaxing.
So, getting a tunnel in Cross River State superhighway is to me a wonderful experience. And the fact that it’s going to be the first tunnel with satellite tower sending internet that I think should be a 4G or LTE penetration into the tunnel to allow communication in terms of emergencies inside the tunnel, is just marvellous.
Therefore, like a person who lives in a city with 11 million people, and a city with several tunnels, I welcome the concept of the superhighway in Cross River State and the tunnel it should provide.
But latest bulk sms suggests to me that the governor is a joker.
2. “Some unique features of Gov. Ayade’s super highway – first with speed control cameras and ambulance patrol 24 hours on the road”.
The fact is not farfetched. Like all superhighways, speed is the main feature. A superhighway is created for speed. To break time limit.
Ability of uninterrupted traffic, the ability of the smoothness and potholes free drive road, the ever exhilarating expanse of the freeways, etc. provides adequate provision for speed.
But like always, safety is the name of the game and hence, speed limits and speed observation technologies are necessary.
The fact that the governor will use super sensory and high definition (HD) cameras is not new to a superhighway.
But it is new in Nigeria and indeed Cross River State. The use of the HD cameras is to enable traffic controllers on the superhighway to work effectively, respond more to emergency situations, and use same for tickets for over speeding drivers and other violations.
But one deficiency in this policy is that our number plates systems are not built with ultraviolet radiation to allow capturing of roads violators by number plates systems.
Like my wife Land Rover, and my power bike, the registration of my number plates was built with my mobile number, ATM Bank Card or Credit Card, and passport/ID card number.
So, if I violate traffic rules, the ultraviolet light on any of my vehicles is captured, ticket number is sent to my mobile phone immediately with expiration time for payment.
The bank automatically generates payment plan immediately by the banks mobile App. Failure to pay within the stipulated time will mean a punishment ranging from sleeping in the traffic police cell for a number of hours to days and the outright ceasing of license.
The application of these high definition cameras in Nigeria and in Cross River State in particular, is a misplaced priority.
Speed limit boards with neon signs should be used instead and shelf the burden of cost generated by buying cameras which will become obsolete in Nigeria. This kind of experiment for a debt ridden State such as ours, is uncalled for.
And since number plates technologies for HD cameras are not available yet, such a scheme will be just a wasteful one.
The fact that we will need an ambulance patrol on the superhighway is welcomed and should be incorporated with traffic police or DOPT personnel to enforce payments for traffic violations.
Like always, because the number plates are not built like in China, US, UK and other developed countries, the issue of graft will defeat government plan to attract income earning by the officers.
So, if the camera will be used at all, they will be used just for observation purposes, which I think ordinary eyes of the ambulance operators, traffic police and or DOPT can do better.
For me, our governor’s intention does not relate with the reality on ground and therefore, this aspect of the superhighway can be described as a wasteful venture.
3. “Some features of Gov. Ayade’s super highway – first with no hill and no valley, indeed a super highway”.
This is the reason why I decided to put up this article in the first place. After getting the other messages as always powered by Emmanuel Ulayi, this one sent a revulsion of bile from my stomach to my mouth. I immediately felt like vomiting and instantly thought that the governor may have got it wrong after all.
We are told from the first bulk SMS that the superhighway will have a tunnel which otherwise will be the first of its kind in West Africa, and Nigeria in particular.
But looking at the last feature, the governor said it’s going to be a superhighway “with no hills and valley”.
Civil engineering made us to understand that “no hills and valleys” in road construction often implies smoother construction without terrain impediments. If there be hills, and the cost of breaking them down is higher than a tunnel, then, tunnels are often recommended.
If the assumption of Governor Ben Ayade is that there are no hilly impediments, then, why do we need a tunnel?
I think and with due respect to the governor, that the governor is mouth flipping as usual.
Tunnels can only be constructed through a hilly landform or an overhanging valley which aesthetic value is not to be destroyed. Such overhangs must be between two or more hilly landforms.
Indeed, it is an economic wastage to create a tunnel on a smoother terrain without hills and valleys. To me, such reasoning of constructing a tunnel where tunnels are not required categorizes an out of space civil engineering campaign and designs, which can only be made by Professor-Senator now, Governor Benedict Ayade.
I thought the governor by now, will stop all these empty ‘gra gra’ policies that will come to nought. I was beginning to feel confident with the governor’s abilities, waking up this morning to see this useless comments attributed to the governor, shows a profound lack of understanding of the workability of civil engineering and civil architectural designs and why they are so done.
I sincerely wish that the governor is not taking Cross Riverians for a ride. After all, the government has until now, not debunked the allegations I raised about Broad Spectrum Industrial Services, a company that is saddled with the responsibility of sourcing for finances needed for the signature projects.
This company is said to be incorporated under murky circumstances shrouded in secrecy.
By Governor’s Ayade flippancy of the lips, the company’s registration arrangements, the lies that trailed Michael Le Havre as a German that he is not, it is well becoming obvious that HE Ben Ayade body language suggests that he knows next to nothing about superhighways and how they are constructed.
Ifere Paul is an environmental activist and writes from China
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