Motorists, commuters groan as container causes gridlock on Oworonshoki-Oshodi expressway
Commuters on the Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway were, yesterday, stranded for hours as a fallen container around Anthony bridge caused gridlock on the road.
The Guardian gathered that the driver of a container-bearing truck moving towards Lagos lost control on Tuesday evening around 9.00 p.m. and the container fell, spilling its content as well as blocking the entire lane.
The accident compelled motorists to use the service lane, thereby causing gridlock for vehicles going towards Oshodi. As a result, motorists spent hours on traffic.
The situation continued yesterday till about 11.00a.m. when the container was eventually removed by officials of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA).
Before the fallen container was evacuated around 11 a.m. by the response teams, the backlog of traffic was easing as of 1.00a.m.
The gridlock stretched to Lagos Secretariat at Alausa, on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Third Mainland Bridge.
Also, motorists took advantage of the incident to hike transport fare in the axis.
For instance, bus fare from Berger to Oshodi was hiked from N300 to N500, while it cost N400 from Abiola Garden to Oshodi instead of N200 and N300, respectively.
Similarly, bus fare from Gbagada to Oshodi increased from N100 to N200.
A motorist, Adeola Taiwo, who lamented the many hours he spent on traffic, blamed articulated vehicle drivers because the road was in good shape.
He said: “I got to Berger around 10.30a.m. from Mowe to meet the traffic around Lagos Secretariat. I spent almost 20 minutes without any movement. I later got to Oshodi by 12 noon.
“It was when I got to Gbagada that I discovered that there was a fallen containerised truck that barricaded the road and disrupted movement at Anthony Bus Stop. I noticed a towing truck moving towards the scene, but as of the time I reached there, the container had just been lifted off the road. But the backlog of the traffic was still there.
“The traffic I experienced today is unwarranted. I heard of the fallen container last night, but thought that it had been moved. I could have gotten to Mile 2 and returned back to Berger with the time I spent on traffic,” he lamented.
Another motorist, Gbenga Kolawole, was also furious that workers from HITECH Construction company still barricaded a lane without considering the plight of commuters.
He said: “While we were still grappling with the situation, some construction workers took a lane working at the median opposite Northwest Filling Station before police officers from Pedro Station at Charly Boy Bus Stop intervened to ease the movement. It was insensitive on their part to take a lane in that kind of traffic situation.”
Another motorist, Jude Nwafor, said he was weak by the time he got to his destination as a result of the traffic.
He blamed the menace of fallen containers on the road on non-enforcement of the traffic laws.
He urged officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), LASTMA and traffic managers to enforce relevant traffic laws.
But, the Lagos State Sector Commander of FRSC, Olusegun Ogungbemide, said they had made tremendous improvement in enforcement compared to what it used to be as there were so many of these trucks in Lagos because of activities at the ports.
“The law was not about latching the containers, the law is about the containers being twist-locked because we have the four edges.
“The flatbeds are supposed to have four edges where these containers are locked underneath, so when you don’t see the belt, it does not mean that they have failed in keeping with the laws.
“It is only the open cargoes that are latched while containers are twist locked; it is only those that want to go extra miles to secure the safety that latch,” he added.
Ogungbemide stressed that enforcement was ongoing and the corps could not pick all of them at the same time.
He said: “We have been doing special patrols and many of them complied. When we had Operation Scorpion last year more than along the Ibadan corridor where more than 800 trucks were arrested for not twist-locking their containers.
“I just gave a directive to LASEMA that when LASEMA and others intervened, the drivers should not just pick up their containers as nothing has gone wrong. It is an offence and the collaboration is needed to ensure that those whose containers fell on the road are arrested and made to face the law.
“All the while, the first thing that came to our mind is to get these trucks off the road and the moment it is done, the person picks his vehicles and goes,” he added.
On his part, LASTMA spokesperson, Olumide Filade, said arresting offending drivers is not part of their mandates, but to ensure free flow of traffic when there is an accident.