Road to hell: Tanker drivers dare Sanwo-Olu, take over Apapa-Oshodi Expressway Express

…Says alternative seaports solution to gridlock
…Delivers 51 iconic road projects in 2yrs
…No plans to ban “Danfo” in Lagos
…To award 4th Mainland Bridge construction to prefer bidders by December

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government has expressed dissatisfaction over the current traffic congestion in Apapa and environs despite the introduction of an Electronic-call up system, saying, there was more to be done for sanity to be restored in the axis.

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, made the remark on Tuesday, during the year 2021 ministerial press briefing as part of activities to commemorate the second anniversary of Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, held in Alausa, Ikeja.

Oladeinde, however, said the only permanent solution to congestion in Apapa is to have other functional alternative ports in other parts of the state which the state government was already constructing in Lekki and Badagry Deep seaports.

However, as part of efforts to reduce traffic gridlock in the area caused by activities of the truck drivers, the state government said it was in talks with the leadership of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, on modalities to absorb oil tanker drivers into e-call up a system for harmonisation.

Meanwhile, Oladeinde said the state government had also increased the hectares of land at Bola Ahmed Tinubu Truck Parks in the Orile area, from 12 to 31 hectares in order to accommodate and keep off more trucks from the road.

According to him, “Sequel to the taking over of Apapa Traffic Management and control from the Presidential Task Force, the state government set up the Apapa Special Traffic Management and Compliance Enforcement Team headed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Toyin Fayinka, with the aim of restoring sanity and socio-economic prosperity to Apapa and environs.

“We have partnered with Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA in the Introduction of e-call up a system for truck access into the ports. Collaborated with NPA in the establishment of 8 truck parks (Holding Bays) in different locations across the state to help get trailers off the road.

“Initiated the expansion of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (ABAT) Truck Park from 12 hectares to 31 hectares to increase the capacity of the park and accommodate more trucks in the Apapa area.

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“The lasting solution to Apapa gridlock is to have other seaports, that is why Lagos State Government is constructing the Lekki Deep Seaports which is expected to be ready in 18 months with another one in Badagry as well as the development of rail and water transportation in the state, so when these projects are completed it will serve as relief on Apapa gridlock permanently.

“We have deployed about 2,000 Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, personnel to manage the traffic around Apapa.”

On the issue of those sabotaging the e-call up system, Oladeinde warned that “The state government will not condone any fraudulent act in the system and we are determined to squarely with saboteurs as Governor has repeatedly assured on bringing back sanity to Apapa.

“However, the situation in Apapa is a work in progress, gradually we shall get there.”

On the closure of burnt Airport Flyover around Toyota, along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, which had been shut to traffic about two months ago, the commissioner said funding has been a major factor delaying commencement of repair works by engineers of the Federal Ministry of Works.

Also, he said as part of efforts to reduce travel time, promote multi-modal transport and facilitate an intelligent transport system, the state has secured fund to complete the blue rail line from Mile 2 to Marina.

Dismissing reports making the rounds of plans by the state government to phase out the yellow commercial buses, popularly called, “Danfo,”Oladeinde said, “Lagos State is not phasing out yellow buses but modifying their operations to allow the regulation of the sector.

“It will be unfair to say we will kick out the yellow buses because we will only have unemployment and more problems. Our plan is that the drivers will be reformed, trained and asked to form cooperatives so they can come together and get financial incentives and also get buses and pay in instalments.”

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, while speaking on activities of the ministry, disclosed that the administration had been able to deliver 51 Iconic projects within two years.

Adeoye explained that the need to unlock traffic gridlock in major economic, commercial and residential areas as well as improve travel time necessitated the construction of the new roads.

She added, “These will make commuting stress-free, life more meaningful for the people and ensure connectivity within the various communities in the state.

“These projects are in line with the THEMES Agenda, most especially the First Pillar T which stands for Traffic Management and Transportation. They also underscore the commitment of the administration to execute projects that directly impact on the quality of lives of the populace.”

Adeyoye gave the list of some of the completed roads as Pen-Cinema fly over, ramp and road words, Lagos Ogun Boundary roads Phase II, Lekki Oniru Traffic Circulation Projects, network of 31 roads in Ojokoro, Aradagun-Epeme-Iworo-Ajido and Somolu network of road, among others.

In addition to the completed projects, she also explained that several projects are already flagged off and are under construction/ upgrading to further ensure linkage of different parts of the state together. Some of the roads include Oba Sekunmade road, Agric Isawo road, St Finbarrs and Iwaya roads, Lekki-Epe Expressway from Eleko Junction to Epe T junction and also Lekki Regional road Project.

Adeyoye, who listed some recently awarded projects such as Hospital Road in Badagry, Construction of Muwo Jetty in Ojo, Abaranje Road Network in Alimosho, Reverend Braithwaite in Epe added that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Olusola Sanwo-Olu will Formally Flag Off the Construction of a new Ultramodern Massey Street Children’s Hospital and among others.

Speaking on the proposed multi-billion naira 4th Mainland Bridge, she said the award process of awarding the project to contractors has reached an advanced stage which is expected to be ready by December.

According to her, “The 4th Mainland Bridge, which started years ago became a top priority of the Sanwo-Olu’s administration. The administration in its resolve to ensure quick delivery of the project had enhanced the role of Private Sector Partnerships in the delivery process.

“Last February a request for. qualification was issued in respect of the project whereby 32 firms who expressed interest were shortlisted. Furthermore, 10 responses to the request for qualification were received from interested applicants.

“The bids of these 10 applicants which has been scaled down to six were currently being evaluated and the names of successful pre-qualified bidders to participate in the request for proposal stage which is expected to emerge by December 2021.”

Adeyoye expressed the commitment of the present administration of Sanwo-Olu to ensure speedy completion and delivery of all the ongoing projects on schedules in the interest of the public.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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