Motorists groan under Oshodi-Apapa highway lockdown
Without any forewarning, the main carriageway of the busy highway from Toyota bus-stop to Cele was on Monday cordoned off with traffic diverted to the one-lane service lane by Hitech Construction Company Ltd, the contractor handling the project on behalf of Dangote Group.
The diverted traffic was flushed down the one-lane inner-city roads of Ajao Estate, Isolo, Ire-Akari, and Okota as motorists, already low on patience after spending hours in the gridlock meander through the potholes-infested alternative routes to link back to the expressway.
The pain is further aggravated by the state of the inner-city roads adjoining the route along the express. Commercial buses drive against traffic with reckless abandon. The situation has made some car owners abandon their vehicles at home and trek to their destinations.
More worrisome to the lawlessness on the road is that officials of traffic management agencies have abandoned the expressway and adjoining bottleneck spots to miscreants, thereby compounding the already helpless traffic situation in the axis.
The long and unfriendly stares from drivers and commuters, the long queue of stranded passengers at the bus-stops, the weary look on pedestrians trekking long distances to beat the traffic and the short supply of commercial tricycles and motorcycles all tell the story of pain, anguish and frustration from sunrise to sunset.
The story is also the same for a few who managed to vent out their grievances to The Guardian, which is likened to a battle of wits and endurance on who outsmarts the other in the race to beat the traffic and reach their destinations. In the words of a passenger, “Lagos spirits came to play on the roads again and locked down Isolo, Aswani Road, Airport Road, Oshodi, Ajao Estate, and Okota.”
At a point, the vehicles also resist further torture by packing up. Many vehicles are seen parked off the road with their bonnets raised, due mainly to overheated engines. A black maria conveying some prison inmates also joined the list of broken-down vehicles. It could not be pushed off the highway and it compounded the traffic gridlock on the single-lane available for road users.
Some boys are also seen making brisk business pushing broken-down vehicles off the road and selling buckets of water.
A motorist, Ayoade Solomon, lamented: “Can you please tell the governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to have a discussion with the contractor handling the Oshodi-Apapa expressway to consider motorists plying that road and ensure a proper alternative is provided before cordoning off the entire stretch. This suffering is killing.”
A journalist, Immanuel Odeyemi, noted that: “This is no rocket science. The Oshodi-Apapa expressway was on Monday shut down for repairs. It is inexcusable for any government to embark on rehabilitation of major roads within the metropolis without adequate travel advisory messages to enable people to plan their movement while the alternative routes are in bad shape.”
Another affected motorist, Emeka Azuka, asked: “Please when is the Lagos State government going to repair Okota/Isolo/Ilasamaja roads? People in this area are suffering. There is no alternative route while the Apapa-Oshodi expressway is under repair. Please, something has to be done fast about the Aiye bus-stop before the Lagos Polytechnic Isolo Campus. That section of the road is a mess and ties traffic on all adjoining routes for hours.”
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