Motorists, commuters agonise as work resumes on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
It was another day of lamentation yesterday, for motorists and commuters plying Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as they spent hours in traffic, following commencement of rehabilitation work on kilometre 0-5 of the road.
The snail movement started from the beginning of Long Bridge inward Lagos, till after Otedola Bridge, where the contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc was demarcating and mounting diversions, preparatory to commencement of work around Otedola and Secretariat.
A motorist, Asake Clement, said he left home at about 8:00 a.m. and got to Berger by 12.45 p.m.
He said: “The low movement is something else today. Why is the contractor subjecting motorists to another round of suffering.”
For Kingsley Odemu, who boarded a commercial bus at Pakuro to Berger, it was another tale of suffering as the bus turned back at Long Bridge and refused to refund commuters the fare he collected nor continue the journey.
Odemu told The Guardian that he had to board a commercial motorcycle to Berger at the cost of N700 despite attendant risk.
He stressed that he was praying all through the journey to Berger because the cyclist drove against traffic, which is a risky venture.
Another commuter, Jide Summonu, said the diversion also affected motorists leaving Lagos, just before the Kara Bridge, because motorists, who took the earth road at the Long Bridge were making a detour around FATGBEMS area.
Summonu, who was running to keep an engagement at Surulere, said after he boarded a motorcycle to Berger, he faced another hurdle as the whole axis, even the Ojodu route that was serving as an alternative was blocked.
The Guardian learnt that Summonu later took a bus to Ikeja through Ojodu route, stopped at Allen Roundabout before boarding another bus to Ojuelegba en-route Surulere.
Apart from the Ojodu route, other commuters trekked from Berger to Alausa Secretariat before continuing their journey.
A commuter said he would have boarded a motorcycle to Secretariat if not for the ban on its operation in Lagos State.
But a resident, Collins Odeh, wondered why the government will continue to subject motorists and commuters to perpetual suffering in the guise of road construction.
Odeh noted that the demarcation is already causing crashes as an articulated vehicle rammed into them and overturned.
He said: “ Why is the contractor insensitive to plights of commuters. They have been involved in diversion and demarcation of road at will in the past years without considering road users. Is it how roads are constructed in other climes.?
“Facing this for the next six months is something else.
God help us. Amen.”
Recall that the South-West Zone Director, Highways, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Adedamola Kuti, had told The Guardian that work will soon resume to complete the remaining section between Long bridge through Berger to the old Toll Gate.
MEANWHILE, Lagos State Government has announced traffic diversion plans aalong the axis from June 9, for a period of six months.
According to the State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, kilometre 0-5 of the Lagos/Sagamu Expressway will be modified for traffic diversion.
He assured that the other lanes will be accessible to motorists during the course of the road construction.
Oladeinde affirmed that signage and diversion signs will be installed along the route to guide motorists on movement and to ensure safety, adding that the personnel of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) will also be on ground to ensure free traffic movement.
The Commissioner, however, called for cooperation, patience and understanding during the construction period, stressing that the project is geared towards better transportation system and improved economic activity.