Driving on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway has become war these days. It's no joke anymore as the toll the stress of driving on the interstate road is taking on the health of Nigerians. Naijauto feels it is high time the government looked into this as a matter of urgency.
It has been a case of passing through the red sea for motorists and commuters on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, as the spate of traffic has been hellish these days. With the on-going construction works necessitating barricading some parts of the roads causing bottlenecks and heavy traffic for road users. This situation has also led to unsavory and a high level of discomfort when there are accidents and obstructions on this road.
A case in point is the fall of a petrol laden truck on the Berger axis of the Lagos-Ibadan road last week which caused motorists to spend several hours in traffic. Another similar case occurred this Tuesday causing even more time wasted in traffic for motorists, with most getting to their destinations very late.
You may think the traffic is empty, but actually it's construction site
A particular traveler almost missed his US-bound flight, when he was caught up in the Lagos-Ibadan road traffic for hours. He was only able to get to the airport using an Okada as a means of transportation, and taking it through off-road tracks to get there. He, however, had to drop all his baggage behind as it was too late to check them in.
This incessant case of road lockdowns for road users is something the government needs to look into immediately as this is fast becoming a source of health impediment as well as a national embarrassment.
Though it is a known fact that the neglect of previous government over the 40 years of the road's existence has brought the road to so much decay. The level of decay has become such that one begins to see what a lack of maintenance culture can turn a national asset into.
This why the government must see the urgent need to arrest the situation on the Lagos-Ibadan express road before it finally arrests the lives of its users.
The award of the reconstruction of the road in 2016 as a fresh contract to Julius Berger and RCC was a joyous thing for a lot of Nigerians who constantly ply the road. However, the joy was short-lived as the rate of traffic increased to an unprecedented level, causing a whole lot of hardship on road users.
That's not all. The stipulated date of delivery was also not met extending the suffering of commuters on the road. It was initially stipulated for delivery this year, but as 60% of the construction is yet to be achieved, it has been further shifted to 2021 according to the information released by the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Power.
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For how long will Nigerians have to suffer from this?
The construction companies are also not helping the road users as they seem to be haphazard in their approach to road work. They seem to begin the construction of a section of the road without putting a finish to the sections initially started. This makes the number of barricades and bottlenecks that drivers have to contend with so many. It also increases the chances of a gridlock peradventure a vehicle breaks down.
With the traffic usually starting from the long bridge area up to Mowe area, these constantly subject drivers to stresses, health issues and criminal activities especially at night. A 10 minutes journey shouldn't turn to a 4-hour journey using road construction as an excuse. Proper traffic management is important and expected in this kind of situation especially with the caliber of construction companies handling this job.
If this project is indeed for the benefits of Nigerians, then a show of good faith through speedy construction effort should be shown by the construction companies. Also, sections of the roads hitherto blocked should especially at Magboro, Ibafo, Asese, be open to reduce bottlenecks and ease traffic. Additionally, construction of portions of roads is finished before moving on to other portions, while patching other portions the make for easy movement on these pavements.
Likewise, the Federal Government should make sure to fulfill their contractual agreements by paying for works as agreed. Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, ministers of works, housing, and power as well as transportation respectively, should also as a matter of necessity and priority take a visit to the site monthly for progress report and evaluation.
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