What is it about?

The study provides a descriptive snapshot of the practices of the highway agencies in the Niger Delta, which shows that the reality of the situation of project delivery in the region, depicts a far departure from the theory of good practice. The study provides empirical evidence which reinforces the general view that the system of highway project delivery in the Niger Delta is fraught with numerous anomalies. This has impacted on the level of geotechnical risk containment on projects. As the study reveals, poor project governance has led to poor project management and procurement practices, inhibiting the implementation of good management of geotechnical risk necessary to minimize financial risks due to the inherently adverse ground conditions at project sites. The combination of these negative vices has created a propensity for extreme cost overruns on the highway projects, considering the wetland geologic setting of the Niger Delta.

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Why is it important?

The study demonstrates the relevance of context to the argument on cost overruns, in public infrastructure projects, uncovering a wide array of social constructs, concomitantly at play in the highway project-based organisations which would have been overlooked in typically reductionist positivist studies. The robustness of the study findings has thus illustrated how adding contextual exploration of the cost overrun problem beyond mere statistics can add depth and richness to understanding the complex web of issues driving cost overruns in infrastructure projects. Cost overrun explanations therefore, should take into consideration the process and context-simplistic generalisations from statistical analysis only, would likely not yield a holistic understanding of the problem.


Writing this article has provided a platform to x-ray how the insider view of highway project delivery typical of the developing world has impacted on the cost of infrastructure development. I hope this provides food for thought.

Dr Alolote Ibim Amadi
Rivers State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Putting context to numbers: a geotechnical risk trajectory to cost overrun extremism, Construction Management and Economics, November 2018, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/01446193.2018.1513656.
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