The horror called Apapa-Oshodi Expressway
Lagosians lament heavy gridlock, accidents at Iyana Itire, Ilasa bus stops
IN a saner clime, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and adjoining roads should be a model of Nigeria’s super highway because of its economic importance; rather than the embarrassment and eyesore that daily assault the psyche of Nigerians.
The highway services the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja, (MMIA), the country’s busiest and most viable seaports, Apapa and Tin-Can ports, as well as a major link between the Island and the mainland. What is also an incontrovertible fact is that some sizeable sections of the highway have failed and strident appeals have been made to the Federal Government to fix the road.
Also not in dispute is that thousands of road users go through hell daily, meandering through several failed spots that dot the highway. To these commuters, lamentations alone are not enough to express their anguish, which ordinarily should not take up to five minutes, but where they now spend two to three hours.
The pain is not the discomfort of traffic snarl arising from the bad spot; rather it is the lives that are wasted daily as articulated vehicles and trucks with unlatched containers fall into the ditch disgorging their contents on everything in sight – moving vehicles, pedestrians and road infrastructure.
On Tuesday, a total of five articulated trucks fell into the life-threatening pothole at Ilasa Bus Stop, a few metres from the pedestrian bridge. A resident, Monday Ajogwu, who witnessed the incident, blamed the frequent accidents on the deplorable state of the road.
According to him, two containers fell at the same spot last week and yet, government and its agencies have not seen reason to effect repairs. Ajogwu, who recalled that in times past, officials of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) were effecting minor repairs on the failed spots, expressed worries why Julius Berger, the contracting firm handling the expressway from Apapa port had stopped work Stop.
For another resident, Kayode Ibidemi, the deplorable state of the expressway has become a nightmare to residents as bus drivers often resort to driving against traffic, which put the lives of pedestrians at great risk.
The dreaded spots on the expressway are Iyana-Itire, Ilasa, Sadiku, Iyana-Isolo and shortly before approaching Five Star bus stop. Due to the road’s terrible state, many vehicles have abandoned it and started plying the service lanes. Many sections of the service lanes are also collapsing due to the undue pressure as well.
Motorists are in agony and are frantically calling on the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to come to their aid immediately. Besides the fact that the road has destroyed several vehicles and made their owners almost permanent visitors to the mechanic workshop, commercial bus drivers have capitalized on the unfortunate situation to inflate the cost of transportation by a staggering 100 percent.
Motorists complain that the bad roads often puncture their tyres and many vehicles break down there regularly. Hawkers have cashed in on the opportunity to ply their wares and there are some young boys that hang around the bad spots waiting for vehicles to break down so they can help push it to a safe place for a fee. A towing vehicle is also parked permanently under the pedestrian bridge with the owner hoping to cash in on the situation to make money.
When it rains, it becomes more nightmarish, as motorists, who unknowingly, because the flood has covered the areas, fall into any of deep craters and end up having the tyres of their vehicles punctured. A commercial bus driver, who plies Mile-Two-Oshodi route, Femi Adio, admitted that the road is now very bad and he is considering plying another route as the resultant traffic is affecting his daily income negatively, especially with the high cost of procuring fuel.