By Lamidi Bamidele
The flag-off of the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway came as a big sigh of relief to most motorists plying the ever-busy road. The contract awarded to Julius Berger and Royal Construction Company RCC in July 2013 is expected to take 48 months.
Prior to the award of the contracts, the road recorded several accidents some of which led to loss of lives and destruction properties. The frequency of these tragic incidents as reported in the media prompted public outcries. This underlined the need for palliative measures in term of temporary repairs on some severely failed sections of the road which caused motorists to spend several hours on the road.
During the flag-off by Mr President, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos State, Oluwatoyin Obikoya, promised that emergency repairs would be carried out on bad portions of the road. According to him: “Julius Berger will carry out emergency repair of those sections so that motorists would enjoy smooth ride and not spend a long time on that road again” .
Two months after this contract award signing event, amidst pomp and pageantry, the situation on this road is becoming worse. A journey from Redeemed Church Camp along the expressway now takes between two and three hours due to so many bad options and recklessly parked articulated heavy-duty vehicles.
Among the bad portions which demand urgent attention is the adjoining bridge between Berger Bus- stop and Kara bus-stop towards the Berger axis of Lagos-Ibadan expressway. This portion is fast deteriorating as the adjoining bridge now has big cracks on it leaving a big gap between it and the road. This situation is responsible for the daily long queue of vehicles which take their turns to pass at a snail speed.
A commercial driver who simply gave his name as Isah, lamented on the number of hours spent each time he plies the road. “How can one be on a road for five hours on a journey of two and a half hours from Ilesha ( in Osun State) to Lagos? We spent two and a half hours to Ogere and the remaining two and a half hours just from Ogere to Lagos,” he said. Ogere is a town close to Redeemed Church camp.
Another motorist who resides in Arepo, a town along the expressway and works in a bank in Victoria Island, cannot understand why the Federal Roads Maintainance Agency, FERMA, finds it difficult to carry out simple repairs on the road. Mr Adeoye thus posed the question: “Why do we live as if there is no government in this country? A road of this importance should attract urgent attention from a responsible government. How long do we have to continue like this?”
The incessant traffic jam on this road occasioned by the poor state of the road has made many travellers vulnerable to armed robbery attacks, leading to loss of cash, other personal belongings and also lives.
Residents of many towns and villages along the expressway such as Arepo, Wawa, Magboro, Ibafo, Mowe and many others who see this expressway as a blessing are beginning to have a change of mind. Mrs Abolaji Hamed, an insurance marketer living at Ibafo has given up her job as she could not cope with the work in addition to domestic responsibilities.
“If I could leave my job because of the hazards of traffic jam and armed robbery associated with it, would I ask my husband too to leave? The agency concerned should please show some level of concern and urgently do some minor repairs on the bad portions of the road pending the main reconstruction,” she appealed.