By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Monday, May 15 to May 19, 2017 is a week the people of Lagos State will never forget in a hurry. It was the week Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode delivered some landmark projects, ranging from top class pedestrian bridges to lay-bys and segregated bus terminals. It was, indeed, as many observers have noted, a week that changed Lagos.
When Ambode came on board on May 29, 2015, one of the first steps he took was to visit the major traffic flashpoints in the state and, together with his team, he worked out ingenious strategies not only to ensure free flow of traffic, but also to change the aesthetics of Lagos for good. Two years into the administration, the result of the interventions of the Ambode administration is visible across the state.
As part of the activities marking the 50 years of Lagos, the governor has been commissioning projects initiated and completed by his administration, but the commissioning of May 15 to 19, 2017 would go down as symbolic in the history of the state.
First, on Tuesday, May 16, Ambode, to the admiration of the people of Ojodu-Berger, commissioned 98 metres pedestrian bridges (the longest in Nigeria), lay-bys and slip road.
Speaking on the interventions in Ojodu-Berger, Ambode said his administration, at inception, identified the axis as one of the major traffic flashpoints that required urgent attention, adding that the decision to transform the place to a hub was informed by the strategic importance of this axis being a major gateway into the state.
“What we set out to achieve with this project was to ensure smooth flow of traffic along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, safeguard the lives of our people who had to run across the road and project the image of a truly global city to our visitors. Today, we are delighted that we have not only succeeded in transforming the landscape of this axis but with the slip road, lay bys and pedestrian bridge, we have also given a new and pleasant experience to all entering and exiting our state.”
To improve on the project, he said a food court would be built where people can relax before climbing the pedestrian bridge, as well as an interstate bus terminal within the Ojodu-Berger axis for buses coming from outside Lagos to drop and load passengers, while intercity transportation system would move commuters within the city.
Besides, the governor assured that his traffic interventions would not only stop at the Ojodu Berger axis, but would be an ongoing process to create solution to traffic congestion in every part of Lagos.
“If your neighbourhood or community is experiencing traffic challenges, be rest assured that we will soon be there. We will always ensure that promises made are promises kept. We will continue to rely on the support of all segments of the population for regular tax payments, obeying the rule of law and protection of public infrastructure. That is the only way we can progress and achieve our goal of being one of the world’s top centres for business, entertainment and leisure,” Ambode said.
The Ojodu-Berger project was conceived by the state government in response to the yearnings of the people of the community for a grid lock-free road network, as well as the need to preserve the sanctity of life of Lagosians who hitherto were endangered by the need to cross the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The scope of the project include 98 metres pedestrian bridges with illumination, 150metres length lay-bys on both sides of the expressway, 500metres length of retaining wall with varying height from 3.5metres to 7metres and two multi-by bus park/bus lay-bys on Ogunnusi road with public convenience.
Other scope of the project include 650metres slip road connecting traffic outward the expressway to Omole/Olowora Junction, 700metres Ogunnusi/Wakatiadura dual road from Kosoko road junction to the expressway, 250metres PWC Road to the expressway, street lighting on all the roads and multi-bay bus parks, signalization of all junctions, pedestrian walkway and drainage infrastructure, among others.
On Wednesday, May 17, Ambode moved to Abule Egba and Ajah where he commissioned flyovers and major link roads as part of the creative solutions to address the perennial traffic associated with the areas, as well as boost economic activities.
The Ajah flyover was completed within a record time of 10 months, while that of Abule Egba was completed in 13 months.
The Ajah bridge is a 160metres long dual carriageway with total length of 620metres, while the Abule Egba bridge is 1.3km with a water fountain. Both bridges were designed with traffic signalization, street lighting, walkways, service ducts, drainage infrastructure, among others.
The governor, who spoke at the events to open the bridges, christened ‘Jubilee Bridges’, said that while the motive behind Ajah bridge was to improve connectivity in the axis and facilitate economic growth, the Abule-Egba bridge was about opening up other areas of the state and improving the lives of residents.
Speaking at Ajah, the governor recalled that the area was troubled by terrible traffic gridlock on daily basis, which, according to him, was crippling business activities, causing loss of valuable man-hours and revenues.
He said the bridge would eliminate the traffic jam usually experienced on the road while the 2.7km Freedom Road and 2.2km Admiralty Way, which he also commissioned, would provide an alternative route to the Lekki/Ikoyi bridge, thereby, easing traffic at Lekki Phase 1.
“We had to give this project priority because of its strategic importance to the economic growth of the Lekki Free Trade Zone and the Ibeju-Lekki-Epe axis. This axis will play a key role in the future prosperity of Lagos State as the home to many multi-billion naira private investments in the Lekki Free Trade Zone as well as the upcoming seaport and airport”, Ambode said.
“As a government, we are irrevocably committed to making Lagos State an investment haven and we have made it a duty to put in place top class infrastructure that will facilitate movement of people, goods and materials. We are confident that these initiatives will boost commercial activities in this axis, support economic growth and significantly reduce travel time as well as other costs associated with traffic challenges”. Beyond the bridge, the governor said his administration was already looking to activate the Badore jetty in line with efforts to commence reforms in the State’s water transportation sector.
According to him, this intervention would see the creation of a bus route from Badore to Langbasa and Ajah axis, rehabilitation of Badore Road and create alternative routes through Oke-Ira to the Epe Expressway, while the alternative slip road which motorists used while the construction of the bridge lasted would be closed to accommodate a new bus terminal.
At the commissioning of Freedom Road and Admiralty Way, Lekki few minutes after, Ambode said, in continuation of the efforts to open the axis for economic activities, the state government, in partnership with the private sector, would commence the construction of the 8km Regional Road to serve as alternative route to connect Victoria Garden City (VGC) with Freedom Road.
The governor’s train thereafter moved to Abule-Egba, where thousands of residents had waited in the sun for hours, to commission the flyover. The project, the governor said, was a result of the government’s engagements with the people of the axis and his administration’s strong desire to make life easier and better for the people.
He said the area was a strategic route for commercial and social activities which was bedevilled by heavy traffic gridlock, hence his administration’s decision to redesign the traffic flow chart of the axis to ensure better connectivity between Lagos and Ogun States.
“Today, we all have cause to rejoice as the `Jubilee Bridge’, Abule-Egba is delivered. This bridge is one of the interventions we embarked upon to ensure free flow of traffic, stimulate commercial activities and create opportunities for our people.
“Lagos means business and, today, Abule-Egba is open for business. This bridge signposts the beginning of a new era of development that would enhance the standard of living of the people in this axis with the provision of this infrastructure,” Ambode said.
The governor said the construction of the bridge was the beginning of a process to transform the axis to the new economic hub of the state, assuring that the ongoing Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) lane from Oshodi to Abule-Egba would be followed by another BRT lane from Abule-Egba to Ogun State border.
According to him, all the adjoining roads disrupted in the course of the construction of the bridge had been awarded for rehabilitation, while a shopping mall would be constructed opposite the Oke-Odo Market to further boost economic activities in the axis.
Two days after, May 19, it was the turn of Epe and Kosofe Local Governments, where the governor also inaugurated network of roads with a pledge to commence other massive road projects in critical parts of Lagos.
Speaking at Epe, Ambode revealed plans by his administration to construct an eight-lane road from Ikorodu to Epe via Agbowa, Itoikin and Ijebu-Ode.
He said the road project would be delivered through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, while a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect would be signed shortly.
Ambode also revealed that in a bid to scale up the socio-economic integration of the South-West region, the state government, in partnership with Ogun, would construct a top-class road from Mojoda to Ijebu-Ode junction.
The roads reconstructed and upgraded under the Epe Phase 1 Project include Lagos Road (Oke Osho/T. Junction/Aiyetoro Roundabout), Professor Agbalajobi (Aiyetoro Garage/Ita Marun-Ottin) and Oloja Estate (Bature/Otunba Adeniyi/Omotayo/Uthman Mustapha/Adekunle Rahman) roads.
The governor, while commissioning the roads, said the completion was in line with his promise during electioneering to address the challenges of gross infrastructural deficit, flooding and erosion that the people of Epe had lived with for decades.
He added that the plan of his administration was to open Epe to local and international investors who would be keen to take advantage of the ongoing transformation of Ibeju-Lekki axis which is currently being turned into an industrial hub.
Aside the roads, the governor said the ongoing Epe-Marina project, when completed, would turn Epe into a world class destination for tourists and adventure seekers.
At Kosofe Local Government, where he commissioned newly upgraded eight roads in Omotayo Banwo, Kola Iyaomolere, Omotayo Close, Adetunji Adegbite Street, Ogun Street, Goodluck Street and Prince Oyewunmi Streets, the governor said the rehabilitation of the roads was part of the efforts to further improve road connectivity and reduce travel time in the axis.
He expressed happiness that the efforts of his administration in the axis were paying-off and had resulted in massive improvement in the flow of traffic to and fro the Island via the Third Mainland Bridge as a result of the construction of laybys, alternative routes and creation of more spaces for bus stops.
Specifically, the governor said the newly upgraded Banwo and Iyaomolere roads would decongest traffic on Oworonshoki expressway by providing a link through Ogudu to Ikorodu expressway.