Posted: December 9, 2015
Last modified: January 19, 2017

The 21-mile major reconstruction of Interstate 4 (I-4), known as the I-4 Ultimate project, is not only a pathway to Central Florida’s motoring future, it also is a model for Nigerian engineers determined to get a fix on traffic congestion in their capital city of Abuja.

More than 20 engineers from Nigeria spent November 2 talking with the I-4 Ultimate team about various aspects of the project from quality control to building on sandy soil to international financing. They also toured worksites to gather information and ideas on how to create projects to deal with increasing gridlock in their nation’s capital.

“We are looking at how to handle all the challenges of transportation,” said Ben-Osy Okoh, vice chairperson of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers in Abuja. “I-4 Ultimate is a wonderful, difficult project. There are many very big lessons that we can draw from it and take home with us.”

The group of engineers included those currently working on public projects, college professors and transportation officials, who come from a wide variety of engineering backgrounds in Nigeria. Yet they all agreed on one thing: Traffic is very troublesome, even overwhelming, in the large cities of Lagos and Abuja.

Those in the group wanted to know more about how to attract international investors, break up a huge project into smaller parts, audit the work and finances, and how to see it as a 30- to 40-year payment cycle.

“The I-4 project is a very important project and we want to see how we can adapt the processes to our needs,” said Beloved-Dan Anike, a former transportation commissioner in Nigeria.

While I-4 has its frustrations for some commuters on given days, Anike compared it to the gridlock back home. He said he would be willing to trade any day. “You have loose traffic here. We have very compact traffic.”