By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Ooooh good God, what kind of mess is this? Is this the way we are going to continue to suffer in this area because of one lousy road rehabilitation which the contractor has abandoned for months now. Can someone somewhere do something fast before we all run mad,â€ complained an apparently angry motorist along the Idimu-Egbeda Road which is presently under rehabilitation.
The Lagos State Government had last year announced that it has identified no fewer than 100 roads for rehabilitation which included the Ikotun-Idimu- Egbeda road.
Governor Babatunde Fashola said this was in pursuit of his administrationâ€™s model mega city project contained in his ten-point agenda. The aim according to him being to provide quality and durable road networks across all local governments and local council development areas (LCDAs) which will help ease traffic gridlocks in the state.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ganiu Johnson when contacted explained thus: â€œThe rehabilitation exercise was necessitated by the worsening condition of such roads as a result of the current rains being experienced nationwideâ€.
Johnson, therefore, assured the public of the readiness and determination of the state government to take the continuous rehabilitation and maintenance of Lagos roads as priority.
The Ikotun-Idimu-Egbeda road project being handled by PlyCon construction Company, had been an albatross rather than a blessing since it has been abandoned for over a month, leaving residents and motorists helpless as they go through harrowing experience getting to their destinations everyday. Quality man-hours are often wasted along this route as chaos has become the order of the day.
The project it was gathered was initially supposed to be finished within six month of commencement.
Vanguard Metro investigation revealed that the project which commenced sometime last January was initially billed to be completed in June. But this does not appear realisable presently.
The first phase of the rehabilitation witnessed the scooping of the dilapidated Asphalt, grading and laying of laterite.
The pace of work, which is being done in phases, was quite impressive on start-off but soon there was a major lull. And before anyone knew it, work came to a sudden stop as the contractor disappeared, leaving road users and residents along this stretch of road at the mercy of worsening traffic jam and choking dust from constuction materials.
Traffic nightmare aided by bulldozers, locked gates
To further complicate the situation, a portion of the dual carriage way, specifically between Abule-Odu andÂ Seliat Bus-stop is being closed to traffic by one of the bulldozers parked across the road, apparently, to keep away motorists and allow for some rehabilitation work on that portion. Ironically, the bulldozer has been there without any visible work going on.
Apart from the traffic jam, the dust which is being generated daily along the road poses serious health hazard to the residents and other road users.
The effect could have been minimized if men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) or traffic warden of the Nigeria Police Force are on ground to manage the chaotic traffic situation. The Bus Rapid Transist (BRT) operation along the axis is not left out, with its daily profits dwindling considerably. The buses are always trapped in the long hours traffic. The commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada are, however, making brisks business as they hike fares at will.
Petty traders along the route have also capitalised on the situation to make quick sales to motorists stuck in traffic.
Also, the managements of residential estates in the area such as Unity Estate along the road are not helping the situation as they flagrantly flout the state directive on gated streets. Some of the inner routes which are supposed to serve as alternative routes are being shut to motorists as early as 7pm in contravention of the 12 midnight to 5 am directive on closure of gates within the state.
Our reporter was almost shot recently by one of the night guards manning one of the gates at Unity Estate when he challenged the authority of the residents in closing the gates by 7pm.
However, residents and motorists who spoke with Vanguard Metro, expressed disappointment at governmentâ€™s poor has monitoring of the project, leaving the people at the mercy of the contractor.
According to Mr. Francis Obi, a business man: â€œWe are begging whoever is in charge to please come to our aid. We the masses in this country, especially in Lagos are suffering due to neglect. Bad roads everywhere, no light at home, water is a mirage. We are begging Governor Fashola to direct appropriate authorities to be alive to their responsibilities.â€
Efforts to speak with the contractor handling the project was unsuccessful as some of the officials approached declined comment and refused to give the contact addresses or cell phone numbers of their bosses.