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Lagos roads still under emergency amid palliatives

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Bad portion of road at Iyana Isolo under-bridge yesterday.<br />PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

The state of roads in Lagos has been the subject of interest among citizens in the past few weeks. Its parlous state amid torrential rainfall, which is making a bad situation worse, is gradually getting the swift attention it deserves.

It has been two weeks since Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu declared a state of emergency on Lagos roads. The governor said the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs on 116 inner roads across the state in addition to over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.

And in full compliance with the executive order issued on this festering eyesore, the LSPWC commenced aggressive rehabilitation and patching of roads to address the continuing problem of traffic in the state.

The condition of roads has never been as bad as it is today. Many roads in the state are in a terrific state of disrepair. It is a case of potholes everywhere you go, despite the spirited efforts of LSPWC. A peep into the inner-city roads depicts a far worse situation than the crammed highways.

The governor also spent some time at the weekend to inspect some of the roads being worked on and assess the quality of work and materials used. Among the roads inspected were Ahmadu Bello Way and Bonny Camp axis in Victoria Island.

Noticeably, there has been a slight decline in the stress points across the state but it is marginal as the traffic menace is yet to abate on major roads. This is due to the high influx of vehicles and motorists navigating towards major routes, where the lanes have been reduced to some construction work ongoing, diversion by bad portions, flash flood, narrowed lanes around construction sites and market activities.

Others are further caused by activities of commercial bus operators, arbitrarily dropping and picking passengers at non-designated bus-stops, and failure of motorists to maintain lane discipline.

Meanwhile, motorists have called on the governor to ensure the ongoing road rehabilitation projects across the state are of good quality to avoid a repeat of the near complete collapse of Lagos roads by the advent of the rainy season next year. The motorists commended Sanwo-Olu for swinging into action to repair roads but said that many governments initiated road repairs do not last.

Mr. Emmanuel Babatunde, an Uber driver plying various roads across the state, said the government needs to supervise the rehabilitation closely to ensure a quality repair. “We need quality repair of roads. It is sad to see portions being repaired after just a few weeks of repair because it has gone worse. If the repair is good, the government will rest for a long time before coming back to those roads, but what we see is the opposite.”

Mr. Ayobami Adesina, another motorist, said: “Motorists and passengers are suffering now because the roads are bad and are flooded anytime it rains. We spend a lot of hours in traffic each day. I think that Sanwo-Olu has done well by declaring a state of emergency on roads, but this repair should not be wishy-washy.”

Some areas residents are still waiting for the LSPWC intervention are Shasha-Akowonjo road, Egbeda-Idimu, Iyana Isolo under-bridge, Ilasa, Mushin-Idioro road, Oshodi, Ikorodu among other areas.

In his remarks, Mr. Ganiu Lawal, Head of Public Affairs, LSPWC told newsmen that the heavy rainfall had not allowed actual road rehabilitation to begin, hence the ongoing fixing of critical portions. Lawal explained that the corporation was only using boulder, crushed stones, and other sub-base materials to stabilise critical roads pending clemency of weather for the actual rehabilitation of the 116 roads to begin.

He added that the corporation had on some occasions called off the final stage of repair works, which was the laying of asphalt, due to heavy rainfall. “The boulders, crushed stones, and sub-base materials are just to stabilise the roads until the rains are over; then, we come back and fill with asphalt.

“We know definitely that the rains will wash some of the materials away but we should do some of those palliatives and reduce the stress of commuters and road users than waiting for the roads to get bad. That is not our best, it is just a palliative for ease of movement, though sometimes there are bumpy rides. It is better than having the craters and potholes without anything being done,” he said.

A road user, Samson Adegboye, however, opined that the pressure on Lagos roads would not go away if far-reaching measures were not adopted. “Lagos traffic problem cannot be solved by the expansion of the road. Some solutions that have been tested and trusted include the use of light rail, use of ferry for riverine areas, mass rapid bus transit system, and carpooling to reduce the influx of vehicles on the roads.”


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