Motorists lament as traffic diversion on Kara Bridge begins
For motorists plying the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, last Wednesday was a particularly harrowing day as gridlock grounded the stretch of the highway, and the adjourning routes.The Guardian observed that traffic outbound Lagos has been diverted to the inbound section, creating a traffic bottleneck with thick spillover at both ends. At the Lagos end of the traffic overflow, major arteries like the Third Mainland Bridge, Ikorodu Road inwards Ojuelegba were all on a lockdown.
From as early as 6 a.m. motorists and commuters moving along the highway were stranded as their vehicles got stuck in the traffic jam that lasted the whole day.Many of those heading to Lagos found the slow pace of vehicular movement from Ibafo which run through the entire stretch of Long Bridge, while those moving out of Lagos experienced the traffic from as far as the Iyana-Oworo end of the Third Mainland Bridge.
It was learnt that the gridlock was caused and worsened by a trailer that lost control and rammed into the concrete barricade used for road diversion at the diversion points crossing the two lanes reserved for the movement of vehicles.The road which was re-opened on December 1, 2019, was partially closed in September when the reconstruction work commenced and traffic was diverted on both sides of the expressway.
The initial work plan was reviewed when the ministry failed to meet up with the set completion date for the 1.2-kilometer rehabilitation and reconstruction, which kicked off in September last year.As usual, the diversion has spiked fares within the axis as commuters are paying above 100 per cent. A trader, Kafayat, said the masses did feel the pinch the most.
“Bus drivers and conductors have started charging us double. The transport fare from Berger to Ojota used to be N200 per passenger but I’ve been unable to board a vehicle because of the new price which is N500 per passenger. I hope an end comes to this very soon,” she said.
Similarly, Ope Adeyemi, a student, said that danfo drivers were taking the new development out on passengers by hiking fares.“We have no choice but to pay the amount they’re asking for. That’s the price we have to pay for whatever is happening right now and all we need do is pray that God grants the construction company the zeal to complete the project on schedule,” Adeyemi said.
The Federal Controller of Works, Adedamola Kuti, told The Guardian that the project would be completed by next month.“We are fully ready for this; we are right in the dry season, a construction season so we don’t expect the kind of experience we had during the rainy season.
“By the time we get ready, here should be taking us this month and next month. By the end of February we should be completing the 600 meters work on the outbound Lagos,” he said.According to him, the rainy season forced the deadline for the completion of the reconstruction of the Kara/Berger, forcing road users to bear the brunt as they spent long hours in traffic.
“All things being equal, we should be able to finish the construction by February 29.What happened the last time was as a result of the rain. It was the rain that causes the delay of the first batch of construction in October. We don’t expect any rain in February.
“Being a construction zone, it is a continuous movement, even though it might be slow. Our advice is that motorist should obey traffic rules and conditions before leaving their homes because that has been the bane of our problem. Vehicles keep breaking down and once motorists are disciplined on roads and obey traffic officer, we may likely minimise the problem of accidents within diversion areas. Once there is an accident on the construction site, it creates a lot of gridlock,” he said.
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