By Kingsley Adegboye
FOr motorists plying the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the major route leading in and out of the Apapa Wharf and Tin Can Ports, the economic hub of the nation, frequent traffic jams have always made the experience an unforgettable nightmare.
Indeed the road is notorious for traffic congestion due largely to indiscipline and utter disregard for traffic rules on the part of the motorists, particularly the commercial vehicle drivers.
The situation took a turn for the worse, in fact approximating hell on earth, since construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, embarked on the reconstruction of some failed portions of the ever-busy dual carriageway about three months ago.
It all began with the commencement of construction works, beginning from Berger Yard end of the road towards the Mile Two flyover and down to Oshodi.
This has entailed the restriction of vehicular movement to the narrow service lane presently full of crater-like potholes, a development that has unleashed untold pain and sufferings on motorists and other road users as they now spend between three and four hours on any given day following the escalation of traffic jams on the road.
Meanwhile, the slow pace of the construction work which is still very far from completion projection only means that there cannot be any end in sight soon to the prevailing ordeal of those plying the road.
Commenting on the situation, Kayode Akinshowon, a civil engineer and pioneer Black engineer to work with Julius Berger Nigeria, and who happened to be the supervising engineer during the construction of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in 1976 preparatory to FESTAC 77, described as unnecessary the pains motorists and commuters have been going through because of the reconstruction of some portions of the expressway.
According to him, this should not be the case where there is proper planning and programming on the part of the site engineer before the commencement of the job.
In his words: “For people to go through excruciating pains as you have said because a road is being reconstructed, it means bad planning and programming on the part of the site engineer. It shows that his planning and programming are faulty, and the result is what is being experienced along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
“The normal thing when embarking on such work is that if the site engineer’s focus is to do one kilometre at a time, he should concentrate on that one kilometre, but while the job is going on, he should make some parts of the carriageway available to motorists and commuters for traffic to flow.
“He should not close the entire carriageway against road users. And once he has finished the portion, and he is moving to the next portion, he will open the newly completed portion for traffic and so on till the completion of the project.
“As I said, if there is proper planning and programming at the beginning, traffic should not be restricted to only service lane that is littered with potholes and gullies. It does not make sense if people have to spend between three and four hours to get home every night no matter how late one leaves office.
“If they knew that they would restrict vehicular movement to just the service lane throughout the duration of the project, they would have first of all carried out necessary repairs on the service lane to make traffic to flow well.
“Julius Berger has experienced engineers, and I do not expect to hear this kind of complaint. I think those who gave them the job should let them know that their work is causing untold hardship to people along that route. I have no doubt that they will do a good job, but they have to do something fast about improving on traffic situation on the road. They should do something fast to minimize the sufferings of the people”.