By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi & Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—CONFUSION, yesterday, trailed the proposed partial closure of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from Sunday, September 2, 2018 to Tuesday, January, 15, 2019 for repairs by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
Reports had earlier filtered in that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be closed for 18 weeks.
Refuting the planned closure, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, in Ogun State clarified the statement credited to it on the total closure of the expressway, saying, it will only divert traffic on the road temporarily.
In a statement, Route Commander, FRSC Public Education Officer, Florence Okpe said: “It was for repairs of the road by Julius Berger, which will commence on Sunday, September 2, 2018 and end on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.
“This is to inform the Motoring Public that there will be temporary traffic diversion on the Sagamu bound traffic along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from km 26 around 200 meters from the existing RCCG Car Park C U-Turn to Km 28.
“Being a location just after RCCG main gate and narrowing of Lagos-bound traffic carriageway to accommodate two lanes for Lagos and Sagamu bound traffic respectively from Sunday 02 September 2018 to Tuesday 15th January, 2019, to enable Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, the construction company rehabilitating the Lagos-Sagamu segment of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway carry out resurfacing work on the road.
“The Federal Road Safety Corps Ogun State Sector Commander, Corps Commander Clement Oladele has therefore, advised motorists to bear with us on the inconveniences of the temporary diversion and cooperate with the FRSC patrol team assisted by sister traffic and emergency agencies that will be strategically deployed to control the diverted traffic throughout the period of the diversion.
“Motorists are, accordingly, advised to note that this may increase the time of their usual travelling period and should, therefore, increase the time of their travelling period whenever they are using this corridor during the period of the temporary diversion of traffic.
“They are to drive within the maximum speed limit of 50km per hour, prescribed by the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012, as maximum speed at construction zones.
“They are also to observe lane discipline and enjoined to drive cautiously while obeying traffic rules and regulations around the diversion area and on all other road corridors.”
It’s fake news — Ministry of Works
Also reacting to the planned closure, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos State, Mr. Adedamola Kuti dismissed the report describing it as fake news.
Kuti said: “It is fake news. Where did they get the news from?”
Reactions trail closure
Meanwhile, motorists in the South West plying the busy highway have expressed concern over the planned partial closure saying it will cause untold hardship as the time of their usual travelling will be increased.
Some commercial bus drivers, who spoke with Vanguard in Akure, called for a dedicated lane for motorists to minimise the stress.
Alhaji Ahmed Tofowomo and Wole Adedeji both drivers plying the road said: “The closure for 18 weeks would affect so many things. Why wait till the road is totally bad before embarking on a fire brigade approach? We are always behind in this country.”
On his part, Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in Ondo State, Jacob Adebo said the diversion would cause hardship for road users.
YCE berates contractors
Speaking on the deplorable state of the road, the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr. Kunle Olajide said the contractors handling the project have not given it priority.
Olajide said: “If you look at the road, it is the busiest road that links the South West to other parts of the country. But, the contractors are handling the project in a shoddy manner.”
Also, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere said the partial closure would subject people to untold punishment.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “They are going to subject our people to harrowing experience, untold punishment with this partial closure. They are not serious about this. That road was constructed in 1974. The Federal Government all these years has not done anything. In the last three years we told them that we need to restructure this country. Under restructuring, there is nothing like federal roads. The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is one compelling reason why this country should be restructured.”