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Alaka/Eko Bridge closure: Lagos motorists, commuters bemoan gridlock

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Several motorists and commuters plying the Funsho Williams Avenue through Alaka to Lagos Island on Monday lamented the hardships they had been experiencing on the route in the last one week.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria {NAN} that this was caused by the gridlock occasioned by the closure of the Lagos inbound lane of the Eko Bridge from Alaka on Lagos Mainland for repair work.

NAN reports that the emergency closure of the bridge had brought untold hardships to many commuters and motorists plying the Funsho Williams Avenue enroute Costain, Ijora, Orile-Iganmu to Lagos Island.

NAN also reports that the Lagos State Government had on the night of last week’s Tuesday announced the emergency closure of Eko Bridge inward Apongbon and released the traffic diversion plan.

The government in the announcement said that the segment of Eko Bridge Inward Apongbon from Alaka through the front of the National Theatre Complex would be closed to all traffic from 12 midnight on March 10 to allow for a detailed investigation of distressed bearings observed along that segment of the bridge.

The government said that the scope of work and duration for the repair would be determined by the outcome of its investigation.

Some correspondents of NAN who monitored the traffic situation from last Wednesday to Monday, observed long hours’ standstill on Funsho Williams Avenue and most roads and streets inside Surulere.

All the alternative routes in Surulere, Yaba, Oyingbo and others were locked down and this forced several commuters to resort to trekking from the National Stadium and other parts of the state to their destinations.

Most commercial bus operators plying Ikorodu Road had abandoned the Funsho Williams Avenue route while some who dared and inflated their fares had been terminating their trips either at Barracks or National Stadium Bus stops due to the gridlock.

NAN also observed that the perennial gridlock had led to altercations between commuters and many motorists who were forced to terminate their trips at various bus stops other than their bargained ones because of the traffic.

Some commuters condemned the development, regretting that if they had known, they would not have embarked on such journeys as motorists were seen trying to beat the gridlock by manouvering through the various streets in Surulere .

Mr Samson Atanda, a commercial bus operator, plying the Mile 12-Orile Iganmu route, told NAN that the gridlock was always tough in the morning hours when most workers were going to their work places

He added that the situation had negatively affected the commercial bus operators around the area.

Atanda said: “This `go-slow’ (traffic jam) is bad today. This is my second trip since morning when I should have been on my fourth trip. We are really suffering.”

Also, another bus conductor, Mr Nureni Abudu, said that the gridlock had affected their operations, saying “we did not expect this kind of ‘mad hold-up’, it is really frustrating.”

A private car owner, Mr Olajide Akinwoye, enroute Apapa from Somolu, said that he had been stuck in the gridlock for about four hours for a journey that should not have exceeded 50 minutes on an ordinary day.

Akinwoye said: “Today’s traffic jam is bad to say the least. We have been here for hours, about four hours now, between Onipanu in Somolu, we are still inside Surulere at 11a.m. since after 7a.m.

“I never knew the road would be this bad today and I never bargained for this. The repair should be expedited.”

A trader, who simply identified herself as Mummy Ajoke told NAN that she had been onboard a commercial bus from Mile 12 enroute Orile since morning.

She said that the gridlock being experienced would affect her sales because of the several man-hours lost in gridlock.

Mr Samuel Olabode, an elderly commuter, enroute Costain from Palmgroove, told NAN that he regretted embarking on the journey.

Olabode said that he had spent about three hours in the gridlock, saying that the people that were expecting him had called him severally and were tired of asking him where he had reached.

A public servant, who simply identified himself as Mr Olusanjo, en route Iganmu from Ota in Ogun, said that he left his house as early as 6:30 a.m., but was still on the road as at noon.

He said: “This is simply a bad day on the road. From Toll Gate on the Lagos- Abeokuta Expressway to Oshodi, it was hectic. From Onipanu to Costain now, it was another round of trouble for commuters.

“Human life cannot belong in this kind of situation. This stress is simply too much. Our roads are bad and this morning ‘s traffic has compounded our woes because of the closure of the Lagos inbound corridor of Eko Bridge.”

Mrs Peju Aremu, a civil servant, who works around the National Theatre, said that commuters did not received timely information regarding the gridlock.

He said the gridlock made vehicles to be scare and had also left several commuters going to Lagos to be stranded at the various bus-stops.

“I spent hours at Oshodi and could not find a vehicle to Costain. The news that Costain was shut down made me go through Yaba to Oyinbo.

“The roads were blocked and in order not to be late I dropped at Adekunle Bus Stop in Yaba and took a bike to Oyingbo before crossing to board a vehicle to Costain,” she said.

NAN reports that as at the time of filing this report, so many commuters and motorists were still trapped in the gridlock along Funsho Williams Avenue and in most streets inside Surulere such as Bode Thomas, Ogunlana Drive and Adeniran Ogunsanya.


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