By Austine Uche-Ejeke
It is a terrible thing these days to drive through the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Reason being the sufferings and nightmare motorists are daily subjected to navigate the popular Long Bridge at WAREWA to Lagos.
For the past two months now the construction company giant Julius Berger started repair/extension work on the Bridge. To achieve their aim, a section of the road inward Lagos was demarcated into two. This has made commuting on the road very clumsy and horrendous. The small portion of the road that is left cannot take two vehicles at a time. The worst case scenario is when heavy duty truck occupies the road, no extra vehicle will be accommodated and the long stretch of the traffic caused is better imagined than stated. This is a road that is originally made to accommodate four lanes.
As that is not enough motorists suffer double jeopardy on their way back from Lagos inward Ibadan. The cause of this one is the badly failed portions from Warewa to Arepo. This very bad spots have gullies, potholes and craters that make easy driving difficult. This is worsened whenever it rains as a greater part of the road will be flooded making motorists slow down and consequently build up traffic. On a very bad day the hold-up caused by that portion could stretch from Arepo to Berger area of Lagos. This very portion caused lots of havoc last year that Ogun State government and a Pentecostal church operating along the road had to intervene to offer palliative repair works on the road.
The resultant effect of this traffic is break down of vehicles on the road. Many cars are seen overheating and spoiling on the road. Also the traffic is having a negative impact on motorists as they break down as well after staying long hours in the hold-up. Many man-hours are again lost due to the traffic. People don’t get to their work place on time and in some situations that has cost some people their jobs in this period of serious economic crunch and jib losses and rationalizations.
To add more sorrow to motorists and commuters is the toll of the traffic on their fuel management. Now that fuel cost N145 per litre motorists are groaning that they waste their fuel on the traffic. Transportation cost has also skyrocketed as bus drivers and Okada operators cash in on the situation to hike transport fare for commuters. On very bad day of the holdup commuters pay as much as N200 from Magboro to Berger, a journey of less than five minutes!
Another dangerous dimension has been added to the terrific traffic logjam on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as armed robbers are now operating freely due to the congestion on the road. On Sunday 24th July 25, 2016 many people were robbed mercilessly on the Long Bridge at WAREWA and AREPO in the night as a result total standstill of vehicles on the road. The following day Monday a big truck got spoilt at the middle of the same Long Bridge and the traffic built up was something else for several hours.
A resident of Okeafa community in Magboro, Emechata Ofondu irked by these incessant traffic jam on Lagos-Ibadan expressway had to send an SOS to members of his community through their group Whatsapp when he said” I left my house by 5am to head to Ikoyi. I only passed Punch Newspaper area by7am. Those driving against the traffic are worsening the traffic situation. I hope the information is useful to someone”
Of course he received a thunderous applause and appreciation from his community folks with some of them insisting that both Julius Berger and Federal ministry of works headed by Babatunde Raji Fashola should put traction on the road to alleviate the sufferings of motorists and commuters.
In the face of all these the pertinent question on everybody’s lips is what is the way out of this traffic log jam on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The most cogent remedial alternative is for the construction company to grade the pathway road at the beginning of the Long Bridge. This grading of the road should be extended to KARA area of Berger. When this is done vehicles can then be diverted to that lane to ease up the traffic. It may not take the construction company much to grade that road so that motorists can have a lease of life.
Be that as it may common sense would have dictated to the Minister of Works to patch up badly damaged portions of the road from Mowe down to Berger before embarking on any serious construction work. Same palliative patch-up jobs should have also been carried from Berger area of Lagos down to Mowe. Some of the causes of the traffic are the potholes, craters and gullies that are replete on the road. If palliative jobs are done on the bad portions of the road, it will ease up the traffic.
Also the construction company should speed up their work on the road. They should open up completed portions and not wait till they finish everything. By so doing motorists can heave a sigh of relief.
This should be done as matter of urgent national importance as feeler garnered from residents living on communities is that they are spoiling for a shown down to both the construction company and the federal government. They are mobilizing to petition, demonstrate and embarrass the government via international media on the unending sufferings they are passing through on the road. To them the federal government and the construction company is not taking their plight into consideration as they do as if nothing is happening. They are imagining a situation where there is an explosion from fuel laden truck when the road is jam-packed with vehicles on standstill. The resultant effect is better imagined than stated.
It is in the light of all these that they are calling on the relevant authorities to wade into their plight and proffer solution to the traffic jam on Lagos-Ibadan expressway to save them further sufferings and forestalling an eventual calamitous occurrence on the road that may take hundreds of lives and destroy property. The leaders of the various community development areas (CDAs) are appealing to the minister of work to take an unscheduled visit to Lagos-Ibadan expressway to have a taste of what they pass through every day. Same clarion call they said is extended to Ogun state Governor Ibikunle Amosun to come to the aid of motorists and commuters on Lagos-Ibdan expressway which harbours a sizeable portion of his taxpaying residents and communities. They remembered and reminded Governor Amosun of the role he played last year when the situation became dicey in Arepo/Warewa area. The governor mobilized tractors to site and palliative jobs were done to arrest the situation.
it is their believe that mere visit of top government officials will make them have on the ground experience and as such do something urgent for the people.
Austine Uche-Ejeke, Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of Agenda Community Newspaper, wrote from Magboro
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