By Jude Njoku & Kingsley Adegboye
The harrowing experience that Lagos residents go through on daily basis as a result of decaying infrastructure, is not limited to roads owned by the federal government. Investigations by Vanguard Property & Environment show that roads constructed and maintained by the State government are equally in terrible states of disrepair.
Across the 27 local government councils in the state are roads which have become totally impassable to both pedestrians and motorists. Some of these roads which are in parlous conditions, were built or rehabilitated by the present Fashola administration which is bent on upgrading the roads infrastructures in the state. What this implies is that either the contractors did shoddy jobs which were below the standards specified in their contract papers or the standards they were given fell far below what is required.
A classic example is the Alafia-Mosafejo road in the Ajeromi/Ifelodun local government area. The condition of theÂ road which was initially constructed by the Marwa administration deteriorated to the point that both pedestrians and motorists could no longer make use of it.
Last year however,Â the hope of residents of area was raised when an unidentified contractor heaped several tipper loads of laterite on the road. But the hope soon evaporated when the said contractor absconded after levelling the laterite poured on some sections of the road. With the advent of the rainy, the less than one kilometre road used by motorists as a diversion whenever there is a traffic jam at Orile, has become completely impassable.
Tricycle and â€œokadaâ€ operators who have been forced to stop work, alleged that when they went to Alausa (seat of government) to lodge a formal complaint, they were told that the contractor has since completed work on the road project.
Bitter complaints have also trailed the deterioration of roads in Ijegun, Oke-Afa, Jakande and Iyana Ejigbo in the Ejigbo council area.
Reacting to the poor state of roads in Lagos, Engr Kunle Adebajo attributed it to a combination of climatic and maintenance factors. The former chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers (NIStructE) explained that Lagos is a difficult place because of its aggressive terrain. â€œWhen the rains come, they come so heavily that the whole place is flooded.
What this means is that roads must be built to standard to enable them cope with the adverse climatic condition. When water comes down, it should be quickly evacuated. This is where the drainage comes in. If the drainage is blocked or is not there at-all, the water will pour onto the roads and remain there for quite some time. If the water remains there and a heavy vehicles passes, it might lead to defects on the road.
What I am sying is that our roads should e built to a standard that they cn withstand heavy loads and rainfall,â€ he said.
Continuing, Engr Adebajo idntified lack of adequate maintenance as another cause of rapid breakdown of roads infrastructure.
â€A stitch in times saves nine. A small tear, if not quickly addressed, can lead to a bigger tear. Similarly, when small potholes show up, if they are not quickly taken care of, they will lead to deep craters on the roads. Maintenance should be a continuous thing. We should have a Maintenance gang who should be working every night to fix all the bad spots; it should be a rapid response kind of approach. The rainy season affects roads adversely because water and roads donâ€™t mix well,â€ he said.
The Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ganiyu Johnson however blamedÂ the rainy season forÂ the deplorable condition of most of theÂ roads within Lagos metropolis.
Engr. Johnson told Vanguard Property & Environment in his Alausa office at the weekendÂ that althoughÂ it is the responsibility of the State to fix the bad sections of its roads before rainy seasons butÂ no meaningful construction work can be done when the rains have already started.
He noted that repair works on most of the roads were done before the rainy season but because many of them were constructed long ago, they usually defy all palliative approaches to bring them to a motorable state.
Blaming the failure of roads in Lagos metropolis on rapid urbanization, the Special Adviser noted that the same roads which were used by a smaller Lagos population several years ago are still being used by the residents today.
He explained that most of the roads are overdue for reconstruction Engr Johnson sated that in its bid to accommodate everybody in the city,Â the state government has embarked on the expansion and upgrading of some of the roads within Lagos metropolis.
â€˜What we are doing now is to recognize the arterial roads within the metropolis and upgrade them. This is because the entire place has been built up due to population explosion being experienced in the city. LASU/Iba Roads for instance, has been expanded to four lanes.
Before now, it was two lanes. There are several other places within the metropolis where such expansion and upgrading of roads are ongoing.
â€˜As I said earlier, no meaningful construction work can take place during rainy season. But I assure you that after the rains, we will start work on some of the bad portions of the roads. Whatever we do now is like throwing money down the drain.
We may not be able to attempt all of them at the same time, but we will start to attend to some of them after the rainy seasonâ€™, Engr. Johnson assured.