By Gabriel Olawale
Even though the Lekki-Epe axis is seen as the future of Lagos State owing to the emergence of the area as the fastest growing property corridor and industrialization, traffic gridlock is what comes to mind any time the place is mentioned.
The location of multi-billion naira investments and multinational firms on the axis, which includes Lekki Free Trade Zone, Dangote Refinery, Dangote Gas Pipeline Company, Dangote Fertilizer Company and other world-class investments, have led to the corresponding increase in human activities, especially the high volume of human and vehicular traffic in the area.
Residents and road users along this axis have continually called for a solution to the perennial traffic gridlock along the 40-year-old Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway.
Agitators for the rehabilitation of the road seem to have lost hope due to the challenges confronting Lagos State such as dwindling federal allocation occasion by a drop in the price of oil and COVID-19 pandemic among others.
However, in responding to calls for the road to be fixed, Lagos State governor, Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo–Olu, recently flagged off the rehabilitation and upgrading of Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe Expressway.
The rehabilitation and upgrading project is expected to be in two phases to cover 45.45KM.
Speaking during the flag-off, Sanwo-Olu said: “As we place our state on the path of continuous transformation, we will continue to pursue the right strategies for a greater and wealthier Lagos. We are in government to make life easier for our people without any consideration for class, religion, or ethnicity.
“We recognise the importance of Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Expressway to the economic prosperity of this state and its people. We are aware of the agitation and concerns of people about this road. This is why we initially declared a state of emergency on this road and put in place temporary measures in November 2019.
“The project will eventually culminate in a three-lane dual carriageway reinforced concrete road pavement with a dedicated lane in each direction for trucks and a rigid pavement to accommodate the envisaged axle loadings expected to ply the road when it is completed. This is a radical departure from the present two-lane dual carriageway flexible pavement.”
Sanwo-Olu explained that his plans will be backed up with corresponding action.
”To prove that our word is our bond, the resilient Lagos spirit in us makes it impossible for us to shy away from our overriding duty of advancing the interest and collective progress of all Lagosians.
“We will not be distracted by our challenges. When the story of this administration is told, it will be that of a government, which listened to the people and responded to the people’s yearnings. Our government chooses its battles correctly, pursues the right strategy and actively engages the citizenry in the pursuit of success.
“Like some of our other road projects under the Transportation and Traffic Management Pillar of our THEMEs Agenda, this road requires a huge financial outlay, which explains why execution will be in two phases. Phase I will cover 18.75KM from Eleko Junction to Epe-T-Junction, while the second phase will cover 26.7KM from Abraham Adesanya Roundabout to Eleko Junction.
“The scope of work will encompass an upgrade in both capacity and pavement structure, the provision of reinforced concrete drains, culverts and median barriers, the relocation of public utilities, provision of reinforced concrete rigid pavement with road markings, installation of weighbridges in each direction of the road, preservation of a rail line corridor within the 50 meter Right of Way, the provision of transverse and longitudinal service ducts and the provision of a crushed stone base course among others.
“The execution and eventual completion of this project will further strengthen our position as the centre of excellence and our commitment to inclusive development. No Lagosian or town will be left behind in our quest for transformational governance. You may have noticed our extraordinary dedication to the creation of jobs at every opportunity. I am proud to inform you that this project will create direct and indirect employment opportunities for our youths and other unemployed Lagosians.
“When completed, this road will complement the new network of roads in Epe and ease transportation of goods and services through Epe to other neighboring states. This will, in turn, lead to improved socio-economic activities in the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe Corridor.
“The reconstructed road will also reduce travel time and loss of man-hours, since it will cut through several communities like Eleko, Onose, Alatishe, Aiyeteju, Ajaganabe, Oko orisan, Ilasan, Lekki Village, and Epe.
“The toll weighbridges to be introduced on this road will go a long way in recouping the state’s investment in this road, while the direct procurement method being used to execute this contract will help us save as much money as we can without undue impact on our internally generated revenue.
“Dear Lagosians, we stand to accomplish more when we have a common ground and purpose. I urge you to sustain your unwavering faith in our administration as we partner to honour our state’s legacy of excellence, courage, and great resilience.”