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Pedestrians, road users struggle with high median on Oshodi-Apapa expressway

By Tobi Awodipe, Faith Oloruntoyin and Kehinde Akande
07 September 2019   |   2:21 am
It has been tough these few months for commuters, pedestrians and road users along the popular and ever-busy Oshodi-Apapa Expressway as the main carriageways, have been shut for repairs, leaving just the service lanes for thousands of vehicles and pedestrians that use the road daily.

Commuters using a ladder to climb the high median due to non-availability of a pedestrian bridge

• Call For More Pedestrian Bridges At Toyota And Iyana Isolo Bus Stops
It has been tough these few months for commuters, pedestrians and road users along the popular and ever-busy Oshodi-Apapa Expressway as the main carriageways, have been shut for repairs, leaving just the service lanes for thousands of vehicles and pedestrians that use the road daily.

This action has caused untold agony for users as traffic situation, precarious on good days, have become scenes straight from hell. Commuters are left stranded for hours, as the repairs progress very slowly.

Recently, huge cables were passed along the road medians that were duly raised to cover the said cables, making them very high and pedestrians unable to cross to the other side. The problem is made even more noticeable due to the absence of pedestrian bridges along major bus stops, causing untold hardship for pedestrians.

Coming from Oshodi, the first pedestrian bridge is at Charity Bus Stop, the next one is at Five Star Bus Stop. There is another bridge at Sadiku Bus Stop and before you can see another at Cele Bus Stop, hundreds of kilometres away, a situation that has angered residents. For several years now, residents have been clamouring for a pedestrian bridge at Toyota and Iyana-Itire bus stops, because of the major markets in both places and the high number of people that troop in and out of both areas. Over time, there have been several fatal accidents, especially at Iyana-Itire, yet there is no pedestrian bridge in sight.

Speaking with The Guardian, residents decried the fact that the medians were raised abruptly without any provisions made for them to cross safely to the other side. They pointed out that when the main carriageway is re-opened, accident rates would increase due to vehicles on top speed. Motorists also complain that the medians are so high that they cannot see the other side of the expressway.

“Robbers can easily hide on the other side and come out and attack us. We are like sitting ducks because we cannot see what is happening on the other side. This median is very high,” said a commercial bus driver, who pleaded anonymity.

Another trader, who also chose to speak anonymously, said: “I feel the government should put another pedestrian bridge at Iyana-Itire or any where in between Ilasa and Cele bus stops. Those areas are densely populated and very busy.”She continued, “ I am a trader here and I always have to cross the road to my home before and after sales for the day. Yes, I know there is a pedestrian bridge at Ilasa, but I feel it is too far, considering the load I have to carry back and forth. Sometimes, it’s scary but I just put my faith in God that nothing will happen to me.”

A motorist, who simply identified himself as Chuks, said: “For me, I don’t like the idea of crossing the expressway at all. I would rather walk to the nearest pedestrian bridge at Ilasa, no matter how far or uncomfortable. I have witnessed people being hit by over -speeding vehicles, especially at night. Personally, I can’t risk my life, so I would rather avoid anything that would make me cross this road. I can always figure out a way to get to Ilasa and trek back.”

Further interactions with other traders re-echoed similar pleas for the government to provide pedestrian bridges at major bus stops along the major highway. “Taking a crucial look at the area, initially, it used to be an industrial area but has fast become a residential area due to development and high urban influx and as such, there is need for the government to look into providing more pedestrian bridges along the axis.”

A pedestrian about to board a bus at Iyana-Isolo who identified himself as Lanre Ajayi, said: “There is an urgent need of more pedestrian bridges along this road, especially at Iyana Isolo, especially since the road median has been raised. There is a school on the other side, a busy market on this side, with a high number of people moving back and forth, yet no bridge to ease movement.

Does this government care about the common man at all?” Asked if the pedestrian that is along side the overhead bridge serves the need of pedestrians at Iyana-Isolo, he refuted this, saying it was not convenient for many.Emeka, a motorist and trader at Ladipo Spare-parts Market, lamented the government’s uncaring attitude. Pointing out that they have been requesting for a bridge for years, he said during elections when contestants came to campaign at the market, they promised to build a bridge when they get into office but they are yet to see one, after years of empty promises.

“To make matters worse, the contractors are very slow with the construction work. However, before they began, why didn’t they build a pedestrian bridge to ease movement, at least, for the sake of the volume of persons, who come here daily to sell and buy in the market? We need the government to ease our burden. We have complained severally, as a body and individually. If you go round and ask the traders, almost all would tell you sad stories of how they have lost a loved one just from trying to cross the express. They even promised to fix streetlights for us; we are yet to see it. This place down to five star and beyond is always dark at night and have become breeding grounds for robbers and men of the underworld.”

Paul Chukwudi, a motor parts dealer also at the Ladipo market expressed concerns that the government has clearly lost the plot. Paul, who claimed he has personally seen three people being hit by moving vehicles on the express on separate occasions. “The first time I saw someone being killed was a mechanic that just finished buying spare parts from one of our traders. He was on his way back and was trying to get to the other side to board a bus before he was hit. The second person was a trader hawking and was trying to cross to answer a buyer and the last person, this was the most painful, was someone who sold spare parts like myself here. This Airport road junction is very dangerous because you will think the car is going straight but it will just divert at the last minute to the airport roadside and one will be confused. If the car doesn’t slow down, that is the end. I am calling on the government to come to our aid fast by building pedestrian bridges, light up the express properly and urge the contractors to finish up the road as soon as possible so that it can be re-opened quickly. The suffering we have been going through in the last two months is too much. Also, I want the government to fix the inner roads that connect to the expressway. This wouldn’t only reduce the pressure on the main road but would also help the roads to last longer. This will also ease the burden of commuters and motorists,” he concluded.

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