By Jude Njoku, Kingsley Adegboye & Charles Kumolu
GIVING reasons for the deplorable state of Lagos roads, Mr. Gbenga Akintola, Executive Chairman, Lagos State Public Works Corporation blamed it on a number of factors which includes the heavy downpour in different parts of the city. Said he: “Let me start with the unusually heavy downpour witnessed so far this year. This has been particularly challenging as we had longer period of wet season in which repair and maintenance work are ordinarily difficult.
‘Also, the high water level in many parts of Lagos presents a terrain that often put pressure on asphalt surfaces as water table rises considerably in rainy season, leaving devastating effects.
Concerning other factors responsible for deplorable state of roads in Lagos metropolis, the issue is that the lifespan of roads currently being maintained is a crucial point to note. Most of them are thirty or more years old, whereas they were built to last for about ten years. As a result, various parts of the same road keep calling for attention in terms of repair intermittently.
‘What this means is that effort made to put such roads in good condition do not really get noticed as newly damaged areas undermine the work done on other parts. This implies that maintaining such roads require constant presence of our men which is quite challenging due to paucity of funds and the number of roads requiring attention across the state”.
Continuing, Mr. Akintola explained that “majority of drains are blocked with waste materials. This is a man- made problem, arising from the habits and attitude of our people who dump refuse in drains and therefore make it unavoidable for water to be retained on asphalted surface of the roads which definitely lead to damage on such sections of the road”.
He criticised the activities of residents and road users who are in the habit of carrying out indiscriminate road cutting. “The release of sewage water on the road, burning of tyres and other items on the road, dripping of petroleum products(especially diesel) on the road, burst pipes and others all contribute to putting roads in bad shape”
Asked what the new body is doing to stem the rate of deterioration, Mr. Akintola said: “ We have tried in all cases to respond to repair needs on Lagos roads. But this has always been within the confines of our capacity in terms of human and material resources as well as environmental factors mostly beyond our control. Due to the rains, we commenced palliative work in August and we have touched more than 50 roads where temporary repair measures are applicable.
‘These portions are to be revisited for proper repair that will last long at the end of the rains. It should be noted however that the introduction of paving stones method during this period will provide almost permanent respite in some repaired areas such as Bonny Camp Roundabout, Ago Palace Way, Isolo, Akeem Bello Road, Ikeja, Apapa Road, Ebute-Meta and others.
We are aware that the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure is also intensifying effort to complete pockets of road construction projects currently at various stages of completion.
The Governor has continuously demonstrated his commitment to helping us do better by ensuring better funding for road repair activities, procurement of additional plants and equipment, investing more in human resources and putting to effective use, the Customer Service Center recently established to facilitate the feedback process between us and the public.
‘In the immediate, we are fully mobilised in anticipation of winding up of the rains so that our men can hit the roads and commence massive repair work. This, we believe will soon bring the much needed relief to road users. With anticipated improvement in funds accessibility, we believe that ultimately, repair work can assume a non-stop dimension in the coming months and the face of Lagos roads can finally change for the better’, Mr. Akintola stated.