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Concerns over slope at Otedola bridge on Lagos–Ibadan corridor

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Following frequent vehicular accidents on the Otedola bridge on the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, there is growing concern among experts over its slope.

The recurring incidents have made commuting along the axis hellish for motorists and road users. Experts are asking the Federal Government to investigate the incidents, which had led to loss of lives and properties.

According to them, there is a defect on Otedola bridge leading to a deep slope from Mobil station outward Lagos, which heavy load trucks are finding difficult to cope with as well as a busy bus stop ahead.

They reasoned that when the road was constructed over 50 years ago, the design was not faulty because there were other modes of transportation.

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However, the situation is now different because most of the haulage is done by road and recent economic realities made it difficult for operators to procure trucks that are sound for such journey.

Given credence to this, a civil engineer and former chairman, Lagos branch of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Musliu Agoro, said the design done in 1970 was not faulty, but recent incidents call for more proactive action to change the narrative.

Similarly, a fellow of Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Gabriel Olanrewaju, said there is need to carry out research to understand problems within the corridor.

He stressed that many of the accidents happen when loaded trucks are ascending the slope, especially when there is traffic on the road.

Olanrewaju also agreed that many of the trucks on the road are over 30 years and susceptible to break failures, which is exactly the case for many of the accidents.

According to him, it will not be out of place if government can address the issue by asking the contractor, Julius Berger to correct it by elevating the slope so that trucks can move easily.

A tanker driver, Ismail Isiaka, said the situation is more worrisome when there is traffic on the road, as the truck will need speed to climb the bridge near the estate.

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Isiaka said when there is a quick stop, the break may fail or the heavy trucks may swerve and hit other trucks. The slope from Mobil, he said, is deep for heavily loaded trucks, especially those that are old.

But the Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Olusegun Ogungbemide, said he is not against the redesigning of the road but not yet convinced that the road is the cause of the problem.

According to him, if experts like the civil engineers have been able to detect that the design is the problem, they are at liberty to inform the government.

He said the Federal Government would have restructured the road, especially now that Julius Berger is expanding the road because they will not be happy losing properties and lives.

Ogungbemide, however, expressed belief that the expansion of the road will impact positively on motorists. He explained that when the road was constructed several years ago, motorists were not having much crashes.

The crashes, he said, started after having the influx of trucks and articulated vehicles in Lagos, which is aftermath of failure of other means of transportation, transporting fuel and containers from Lagos to other parts of the country.

Ogungbemide said transportation also became everybody’s business, with people bringing in trucks that are not worthy to be on the road.

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“It is those vehicles that do not meet minimum requirements and those that their capacity are below the items they are carrying that cause problems on that road.

Also, Director of Federal Highways, South West, Adedamola Kuti, an engineer, said expansion of the road would take care of the problem.

He stressed that the contractor, Julius Berger would be working from the Old tollgate to Otedola Bridge, which will address some of the anomalies in the axis.

Kuti noted that the slope is not too sharp as a lot of trucks pass through every time without trouble, while some of the affected trucks carry goods above the vehicle’s capacity.

“ Ordinarily if they are carrying within their capacity the incident will not be reoccurring,” he added.

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