By Dapo Akinrefon & Monsuru Olowoopejo
RESIDENTS and motorists, who ply the Lagos-Badary Expressway, are not happy with the Federal and Lagos State government over the deplorable state of the road.
In fact, concerns have been raised over the perceived abandonment of the road by the government as commuters and residents lament the long man-hours wasted on the road.
The failed portion of the road is visible for first-time users of the road.
Interestingly, the completion date for 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway, embarked upon by the Lagos State government, remains unknown.
Residents and commuters insist that the failed portions of the expanded road, divided into three Lots, Eric Moore to Seme Border, commenced nine years ago with provision of Bus Rapid Transit, BRT land and rail line, clearly indicated that the road must have been poorly constructed by the contractor, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCECC.
When Vanguard visited the already constructed sections of the road, failed portions were sighted on Lot 2A, Mile2 to Okokomaiko end of the road.
The section was divided into three segments, Mazamaza to Agboju; segment1, Agboju-International Trade Fair; segment II and International Trade Fair to Okokomaiko; segment III, under the administration of former governor, Babatunde Fashola.
According to former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the division was adopted to hasten the construction works, considering the importance of the road.
It was gathered that the failed portion on the constructed location was evident on segment 11, Agboju-International Trade Fair.
Tales of woe on road
Vanguard’s experience on the ever busy road painted pictures of frustrated commuters, who were forced to spend more hours navigating the failed axis; which they could have spent commuting Lagos to Ibadan, Oyo State.
Though the journey from Lot 1 is pleasurable but leaving this spot, was a tale of woes and lamentation, as commuters groan for spending appreciable man-hour at the location.
Also, transport fares shot up as commercial drivers increased their fares due to the traffic caused by the bad road.
During the visit, motorists hinted that the navigating the portion especially during the rainy season at night becomes hectic as they are not sure of how best to manoeuvre from the spot.
As they spend hours at this location, the gridlock builds up.
Sources hinted Vanguard that on the appraisal document presented by State Government officials on the level of work completed by the contractor, the road along with culverts, was marked done.
For first-timers on the road, after leaving the location, navigating the spot may become a nightmare.
Besides, the effect the current state of the road leaves on the vehicle, a user of the road would never wish he plies the route a second time.
Permanent bad portions
From this spot to Agbara where 24.5 kilometres Lot 2 ends to the historical town of Badagry, the road is in a terrible condition.
It was learned that the permanent bad portions, ditches, and craters on the road have forced hundreds of motorists and commuters to raise concerns over the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s body language to the project that commenced under his predecessor, Mr. Raji Fashola.
Residents blast FG, LASG
A Master student in the Lagos State University, LASU, Ms. Yetunde Lawal lamented that navigating the road to her residence in Gbagada was traumatic.
She said: “I am always afraid whenever I am going to school for my lectures.
“And because of that, I cannot wait to finish the programme. I have spent more than expected commuting to the institution whenever I have reasons to visit LASU.”
A resident, Mike Oke, told Vanguard that his daughter’s recent wedding ceremony fell short of the required guest because “they were afraid of the traffic on the road. Some stayed back. I don’t know why the government hasn’t forced the contractor handling the project to speed up work.”
A commercial driver, Isiak Jatto, hinted that the contractor handling the project has abandoned the portion already awarded, adding, “It has been quite a while that we see them working on the road.”
Keeping Badagry backward
Worried by the hardship commuters are often subjected to daily, a concerned resident, in an open letter to the governor described Governor Ambode’s attitude towards residents’ plight within the axis as casual.
He said: “It actually saddens me that infrastructural development along the Badagry axis is taking ages to come to life, considering the speed at which Jubilee bridge (Ajah) and Abule Egba bridge were rapidly designed, contracts awarded, projects completed and Commissioned without delay.
“Oshodi, airport road, Agege Pen Cinema, BRT corridor from Abule Egba to Oshodi, Igbogbo Bayeiku road, just to mention a few will soon be commissioned with the look at the rate of works going on.”
While narrating his experience during a visit to Epe, he argued that the road was well tarred with countable and few potholes.
“What’s the state of the Lagos-Badagry express road? It is deplorable. Disrepair. Eye sour. Absolute neglection. Thousands of man-hours and billions of naira are being lost daily. We’ve not even counted lives lost. We’ve also not added other negative costs.
“I don’t want to consider it a deliberate plot to keep Badagry backward but sometimes, spending four hours and more on a trip that shouldn’t take an hour and a half or less is worrisome to me.
“I heard it was a result of the divisive politics played by some party members is causing the drawbacks. But kindly consider the women and children. We men can take of ourselves,” he added.
Ambode approves palliative work
Following persistent complainants from residents, Ambode directed the State Public Works Corporation to intensify palliative works on the Okokomaiko to Badagry road.
Ambode also ordered that Eric Moore to Okokomaiko end of the road be opened up to traffic as soon as possible following the completion of works by the contractor.
The State’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, in a statement, said the Governor was touched by discomfort being experienced by the motoring public plying that axis and has vowed to continue to intensify all necessary steps to ameliorate their sufferings.
Reacting to residents’ complaints, Akinsanya said that security and traffic agencies have been directed to enforce the provisions of the state traffic law by dislodging roadside traders and hawkers from the road, while also arresting any law enforcement officer caught extorting money from motorists.
Akinsanya stressed that the section of the project which is from Okokomaiko to Seme–Badagry is being proposed for Private Public Partnership due to the magnitude of the infrastructure to be put in place and the humongous amount of financial resources running into hundreds of billions of naira which the State Government cannot muster presently due to other vital competing demands.
He said discussions with investors are at advanced stage and the Memorandum of Understanding would be concluded soon.