Road diversion: Motorists, commuters decry unending sufferings on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
It was another agonising Monday for motorists and commuters plying Lagos-Ibadan expressway, as they spent several hours in traffic following diversion of traffic by Julius Berger Nigeria at New Garage, Ojodu, Berger, Lagos. The traffic brought to fore unending pains commuters face daily, on the road, since the award of the road reconstruction about 16 years ago.
The Guardian learnt that the diversion was in continuation of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Consequently, traffic was diverted from linking the expressway at New Garage Lagos, forcing motorists coming from Isheri Olowora to pass through River Valley Estate to link the expressway.
Also, motorists coming to Lagos were to pass through Babcock College, opposite Enyo filling station, to link the expressway and drive into Lagos.
Alternatively, they could pass through Ojodu and make a U-turn in front of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Ojodu to link the expressways at Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Bus-Stop.
According to the Public Education Officer, FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, has directed FRSC Commands along the corridor to ensure minimum hardship on behalf of commuters.
He also enjoined the motoring public along the route to exercise maximum patience and cooperate with the law enforcement agencies along the said routes.
But motorists complained that the diversion has become one too many as it has compounded the already intractable traffic on the road.
A motorist, Molly Adekoga, expressed worries over the rationale of diversion in the area, when works on other diverted areas were yet to be completed.
Adekoga, who spent four hours in traffic from his house at Matokogi area of Magboro, said the contractor was yet to finish the connecting portions near the BRT area at Berger before compounding the traffic woes.
According to him, engineering is meant to solve or reduce human challenges but in the case of Julius Berger, it meant another time. “Common engineering sense will suggest that the construction firm should avoid erecting many diversions on the busiest road in Africa without completing previously opened ones,” he said.
Another motorist, Uzombah Innocent, said: “I thought they said that the road reconstruction had been completed? Julius Berger of today is different from the one we knew. The construction of the entire virgin Lagos-Ibadan express road was completed within some four-five years in 1978 with Julius Berger playing a major role, handling the Sagamu-Lagos axis with many bridges.
“Now Julius Berger has been engaged in the repair of the same Sagamu-Lagos axis since the beginning of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration in 2007. Sixteen years after, they are still torturing commuters like this! This is totally unacceptable. I have a feeling that they are blackmailing the government for whatever reasons. Or is there a political undertone to all this? Very sad indeed.”
Also, a commuter, Kamoru Abiodun, lamented lack of supervision from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the pains being meted to motorists.
He stressed that motorists are tired of failed promises on the completion date and called on the government to ensure that people are alive to enjoy the road, when completed, as they are dying gradually.
Meanwhile, a senior staff of the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, urged motorists to be more patient as the contractor is working round the clock to complete the road on or before the end of July.
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