Governor Ambode of Lagos State
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
For so long, Lagos motorists have not really had it so good in terms of pothole-free roads.
Some of the potholes, which had become gullies, littered the state, making it impossible for seamless traffic experience, and resulting in traffic jam.
Consequently, one of the cardinal points of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration is the improvement of road infrastructure for seamless traffic situation, thereby saving loss of man-hours spent on the road, no thanks to traffic gridlock.
Virtually all the streets and major highways were in terrible state, riddled with potholes often referred to as ‘death traps’ .
Some of the worst affected areas were Lagos-Abeokuta Express Road; Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, by Berliet Bus Stop, Ilasa; Western Avenue, now renamed Funsho Williams Avenue; Ikorodu Road; LASU-Iba Expressway and Ikorodu-Epe Expressway. There were also several inner streets.
Motorists and residents plying these roads often lamented their plight during successive administrations for intervention but little or nothing was done to ameliorate the situation.
Therefore, one of the pragmatic steps taken by the Ambode administration in 2015 to salvage the situation was the appointment of Engr. Ayotunde Sodeinde as General Manager and Special Adviser to the Governor on Lagos State Public Works Corporation, LSPWC, and the subsequent declaration of ‘Operation fix all potholes’, in Lagos. The corporation is saddled with providing road infrastructures such as construction, reconstruction and maintenance.
LSPWC immediately established two asphalt plants in Imota and Badagry in addition to the one at Ojodu Berger to boost its operations in terms of asphalt production.
With different kinds of state-of-the art equipment, the corporation recruited additional 105 maintenance gang members into the 33 gangs to efficiently deliver on its mandate of providing motorable and pothole-free roads.
Sodeinde, at the flag-off ceremony of “Operation fix all potholes”, held at Ogunnusi Road in Ojodu-Berger, stressed the corporation’s commitment to ridding roads across Lagos of potholes.
Sodeinde disclosed that the programme was part of Ambode’s initiative to address the problems of deplorable state of roads in the state.
The LSPWC boss decried the state of roads in the metropolis which he said were fast becoming ‘death traps’, maintaining that the state administration will leave no stone unturned to tackle it headlong.
While cautioning motorists to adhere to safety measures due to the improved state of roads across the state, especially as the 2017 rainy season had begun, he assured that ‘Operation fix the potholes’ would be a continuous exercise and cover all roads irrespective of whether they are federal or state owned.
He stated: “The corporation has been maintaining federal roads in the past. It will still continue to do so as our main objective is to make roads in the state pothole-free, so as to ease vehicular movement and also to reduce the stress frequently experienced on Lagos roads as a result of heavy traffic situation”.
Sodeinde, who maintained over 192 roads within four months of his appointment, stressed that the flag-off programme should have commenced earlier but was delayed due to frequent rainfall.
He warned residents against disposing of dirt in drains, pouring of petroleum products on roads, cooking on the road and other habits capable of causing damage to roads.
Notable among the rehabilitated roads was the bad portion of Metal Box Road by ACME Road, Ogba, measuring about 320 metres long and 16 meters in width.
Meanwhile, Ambode, recently, approved the construction of additional 200 roads across Lagos 57 councils.
The roads, referred to as “special projects” with the feasibility study on- going, are aside the 181 local government roads to be constructed by the state government in collaboration with the councils which brings the total number of roads to be constructed by the state government in 2017 to 381 roads.
The roads were selected by members of the State Executive Council and members of the House of Assembly. This makes for equity, fairness nd adequate spread of developmental projects in the state.
The 200 roads include Olaiya Street, Agbotikuyo, Agege; Kareem Oyelade Street, Papa Ashafa, Agege; Idoluwo Street, Lagos Island; Lambo – Lasunwon Road, Opposite LASPOTECH, Ikorodu; Odunsi Street, Bariga; Mosadologun/Onigemo Street, Apapa; Isheri Oshun Road, Ikotun Igando and Johnson Street/Karimu Street, Kirikiri, Amuwo Odofin LGA.
Sodeinde urged members of the public to always inform the corporation on potholes in their areas, stressing that “protection of public infrastructure is a collective effort and must be embraced by all members of the public.
“Though we have our in-house monitoring engineers who usually report incidences of bad roads, members of the public should also do so by reporting through our dedicated email address-e[email protected] or our customer service line 07098107021.”
As the potholes are fast disappearing from the roads paving the way for seamless traffic, residents expressed satisfaction on the current state of major roads in the state.
A commercial driver, Tajudeen Adisa, who plies Abule-Egba to Oshodi, expressed his new travel experience along the route thus: “We are really grateful to the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode for this intervention on potholes on our roads. We have suffered so much in the past due to bad road. We spent so much repairing our vehicles. But in recent times it has been smooth sailing. Our turn around due to motorable road has also improved because the road is always free except when there is auto crash or broken down vehicle on the road.
“We are also using this opportunity to urge our governor to ensure that the on-going road rehabilitation across the state is completed in good time so as not to inflict much pain on motorists and residents.”
Also Mrs. Taiwo Ojo, resident around Ilasa area, commended Ambode for coming to the rescue of residents by fixing the Berliet bad portion on Apapa Oshodi Expressway which belongs to the Federal Government.
“Before now, articulated vehicles used to fall in this area because of the bad portions of the road killing people. But that has become a thing of the past. Traffic gridlock is gone. We now have safe and smooth ride. Miscreants who always seized the opportunity to attack and rob people held inside traffic gridlock have disappeared too.”