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Motorists lament narrow lanes, gridlocks on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway


Bottleneck caused by the BRT lane narrowing the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway at Ikeja Along. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

Connecting Lagos to Ogun State through the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway could be a tortuous experience depending on the day despite the state government’s efforts to revamp transportation. 
One of the measures, apart from patching of potholes on the federal highway, is the new Oshodi-Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) initiative, which was inaugurated on August 11 to reduce hardship and travel time for residents. 
Frequent users of the Ikeja-Along and Oshodi axis on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway have lamented the incessant gridlock on the corridor, which seems to defy all solutions.
Speaking with The Guardian, Titus Awopetun recalled his experience while commuting to work. He said: “There was a particular day I spent about three hours driving from Ile-Epo to Oshodi. The stress that comes from doing this every single day on this road is better imagined than experienced. And it doesn’t help that the traffic authorities haven’t done enough to address the situation.”
In assessing the changes brought about by BRT buses and lanes created for their operations, Abiodun Daramola, who conveys passengers daily from Oshodi to Sango-Ota, said: “The BRT system has made the road narrower. While the BRT drivers are moving with ease, we don’t get to enjoy that because of troubles with moving here and there. It has taken its toll on our operations with low productivity and profit. And we can’t pass the burden to the passengers since they prefer to stay on queue for the next available BRT.” 
In contrast, Muhyideen Ayinde, who also drives a commercial bus, dispelled the notion that the BRT buses were a threat to the way and how people move on the road.


He said: “I drive a commercial vehicle and I haven’t seen the threat in working side by side with the BRT buses. Our only threats are the police, tax force and LASTMA officials who are ready to swoop on any bus, stopping at the bus stop to pick or drop passengers. Just last week, the situation led to serious crisis and riots at Abule-Egba when the task force people killed one of our members.”
However, Kazeem Jimoh, a legal practitioner who rides daily on the road, urged residents to look at the bright sides of the initiative. “Before COVID-19, I observed that students, workers and traders faced difficulties while commuting on the road. The BRT scheme is helping to address this now, reduce travel time and keep people healthy in the state. Also, it is just a matter of time before owners of private vehicles will get to park those vehicles and take public transport. This is what we should be looking at,” he said.
On addressing the gridlock, Jimoh offered: “I have seen traffic officials doing their best to manage the situation at Iyana-Ipaja, Ikeja-Along, Airport and PWD. However, they have to be more strategic about managing traffic, particularly during peak periods.”

Jimoh maintained that having an integrated transport system was more preferable to expanding the expressway. For Daramola, investing in expanding the expressway would address the nagging traffic situation. “I strongly believe that we should be conveying people and goods on the road with ease. The government should expand the road and make it wider for transportation from the existing three to four lanes to six lanes on both sides. Everyone will move freely that way, like former Governor Ambode expanded the Airport Road three to six lanes.”
Another motorist, Jacob Bolarinwa, called on the government to commit resources to address the situation with expansion and improve traffic management for easy movement in the metropolis.
“The government will be helping a significant number of residents in the state by investing in expanding the highway, as well as mobilise traffic officials for better traffic management. If this is pursued diligently, the transportation system will be better for it. Also, everyone will get to live with ease and in peace.”

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