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Restoring sanity on Oshodi-Apapa expressway, still a long way to go

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[File] Trucks completely blocking a section of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway at Second Rainbow inward Mile 2 on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. PHOTO: TONYE BAKARE

Three weeks after Operation Restore Sanity kicked off along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, some semblance of sanity has returned especially along the Oshodi-Mile 2 axis.

In fact, just two days after the exercise commenced, motorists could drive to the Mile 2 flyover encountering light traffic when descending.

Before the operation, commuting on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, one of Nigeria’s busiest highways was hellish, as articulated vehicles and tankers occupied every available lane, including service lanes, from the ports up to Cele Bus Stop and beyond.

Ironically, while the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway is showing signs of improvement, the chaotic scenes are now being replicated at alternative routes.

For instance, from Alakija to Mile 2, on the expressway, inbound Orile, articulated vehicles have taken over one lane, where they now park.

Expectedly, this has given birth to traffic snarl on that route.

The same scenario is playing out on the Old Ojo Road, in Oriade Local Council Development Area, as tankers and trucks have taken over a lane of the road, forcing vehicles to navigate through the inner streets.

Also, articulated vehicles now park within the Mile 2 Low Cost Housing Estate, especially the road that leads to Fatgbems bus stop off the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

There is still challenge climbing and descending the Mile 2 flyover, as these vehicles took over its foot and mouth.

The resultant traffic build up around the flyover sometimes flowed into Alaba Express Bus Stop on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.

After they were initially dislodged, articulated vehicles are staging a comeback, forming columns on the speed lane from Sanya Bus Stop to up to Ijesha.

In addition to this, some trucks and tankers now park on the service lane, especially between Coker and Odo-Olowu Bus Stops, and sometimes around Mile 2.

The only difference from what used to be is that a single, orderly lane is maintained.

Another column of heavy-duty truck is on the service lane at Mile 2 inbound Oshodi, between Fatgbems and Second Rainbow Bus Stop, which they have now turned into a parking lot.

The implication of this situation is that in no distant time, these articulated vehicles could return to all the places they were expelled from, and commercial bus drivers, most of whom are very reckless would also continue driving against traffic, and the chaos that was the order of the day before the intervention would also return.

Government had promised that the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) would ensure that tank farm owners comply with holding bay requirements, while trailers not called upon and found trampling will be impounded and sanctioned.

Government also announced the suspension of approval for tank farms, and promised to accelerate the completion of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Trailer Park, and it should be ready within a month.

It further directed that all truck and tanker owners must be duly registered and well regulated by their unions, adding that the unions would be held accountable for failure of their members to adhere to extant rules and regulations.

In spite of these orders that bonded terminals and articulated vehicles should vacate residential areas within Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Council, nothing substantial has happened in that direction. This is because containerised trucks are still indiscriminately parked within the local council.

When The Guardian visited on Thursday some of the road users and residents blamed government’s inability to rehabilitate the road as a major cause of the traffic, especially from Mile 2 to Coconut Bus Stops, down to Apapa Wharf.

The traffic, gridlock currently stretched from Ballet Bus Stop in Ilasamaja, down to Apapa Wharf as commercial bus drivers have developed the attitude of plying one-way going to Apapa.

Commercial motorcyclist popularly known as Okada is the only means of easy movement starting from Mile 2 towards Apapa as buses terminate their journey at Mile 2.

A resident Mr. Princewill Onyehanyelu, said traffic has made life difficult for people living in the area.

“When road is not properly maintained movement will be difficult, government has failed to rehabilitate the road because they awarded the contract to a local construction company and the company has abandoned the road project.

The road is not motorable, which is why there is traffic gridlock and it is affecting our business on daily basis.

Many trucks here have spent more than one month without movements, if government is serous about this road let them award the contract to Julius Berger Construction Company to enable them to put the road in good shape.

“Let government help us to rehabilitate this road, I have spent three days on this queue, I am not sure that I will load my vehicle this week so we are dying gradually because the traffic has caused hardship for us”.

A resident, John Ebuka, who leaves around Olodi-Apapa said for him to get to his office at 8am, he leaves home by 5:30am, a journey that normally takes 30 minutes without trailers and tankers on the road.

“I cannot even drive out of my street because most times I am blocked, leaving the office I start dreading the traffic, I would meet on the road or if I would even be able to park my car on my street.”

According to him, even after the governor’s visist, there has been no change, instead articulated vehicles park on both sides of the street and roads blocking entrance and exits totally.


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