‘Road abuse contributes to failed portions in Lagos’
General Manager, Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC), Olufemi Daramola in this interview with
BENJAMIN ALADE, spoke on challenges faced in road repairs, construction and rehabilitation while giving updates on repairs done thus far. Excerpts
In your view, what is the level of repair done thus far?
The rehabilitation in Lagos cannot be over emphasised, however, in line with Mr Governor’s directive, rehabilitation works have been ongoing within the metropolis. I think the narrative should change from, is Mr Governor working, to when would we get to where you are? We cannot fix all the roads at the same time but we are working assiduously day and night at identified locations and we have a very big data base of where the works are and very soon we are going to increase our own maintenance gangs to continue to forge ahead with it. However, the programme is on and being worked on vigorously. Where we are not now, in the not too distant future, we would be there.
There are instances where roads recently rehabilitated wear out within few months. Does that mean the materials used are substandard?
I will answer your question in two folds. One, the quality of work being executed is very good. It’s a good engineering standard. I will like to let you know that we have a laboratory to ensure quality control and assurance. However, another thing I will like to bring to your attention is that, when you do road maintenance work, it varies from sectional, potholes failures and general overlay.
For instance, if you have a cloth and the clothe is worn out, you know it is worn out and you have a hole, you stitch the hole and you get into the bus and you stretch and another part snaps up. More often than not, it is not where you just stitched that snaps up again. In other words, some roads have outlived their span. When sectional road repairs are being done, at the time of intervention, some sections might not have been fatigued or gotten to the failure level, where you just decide to do the whole thing, several instances all over. More often than not, maintenance work would have been done on a road and on another section of the road, which then prior to the repair wasn’t in good condition goes bad but it doesn’t mean that such section that was initially done but the name of the road keeps on ringing a bell.
For instance, there are some roads like the Opebi road, Allen Avenue, opposite Chrisland on Opebi road; a stretch of that road section was done that was so bad. Allen Avenue, the University of Suya end also on Allen Avenue on Opebi, not all sections were done, so coincidentally, you might drive on a section that was hitherto believed to be okay and it has a small fatigue. However, those things will be a thing of the past because we have procured Jetpatchers that would be deployed that will nip such little failures before they become craters.
However, it is important to let you know that when intervention is done on a road, it is not the whole road sometimes because there are underlining problems. Some of the roads need a total realignment of the geometric, total drainage construction where it does not exist, but in the short run, would we ask the citizenry or populace to wait until it is holistically done completely? I will take one road for example, Oba Akran road. At the inception of this administration, the road wasn’t in good shape, the road does not also have a functional drainage system programmed to be upgraded. The road is filled with factories all over with high axial load. Ideally the proper design might be a concrete pavement over the stretch of the road, but do we wait till all the processes are being done and leave motorists in that condition? So what we do is that we have some form of intervention. Intervention has been done; travel time on Oba Akran has been reduced massively, vehicular movement, moving. However, that does not mean there are no issues on Oba Akran. Our parent ministry, the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure have a large database where all these roads for upgrading, total reconstruction are being programmed.
What are the challenges encountered in the course of repairing, rehabilitating Lagos roads?
Yes, challenges occur. Challenges by virtue of our work. Sometimes, we need to work at night. Our workers are attacked. While working on Ikosi road the other day, a traffic management plan was in place but our workers were attacked. Someone came up and beat up our staff. There is a lot of synergy. Everyday our work programme goes to LASTMA. When we are carrying out this work with a belief that we are adding value, people should embrace us. But henceforth, we are looking at security working with us. We have worked on Ikorodu road, occasionally you have attacks but for example, if I have 10 gangs working this night in critical locations, we should have peaceful coexistence of bringing value to such community. However, road abuse is part of our problems. You find out that most people wash cars on the roads, engine repairs on the road among other things.
And then there is something that naturally happens that people don’t appreciate. There are some locations which we are also working out a good programme for, where people hawk and sell things, if there are potholes motorists naturally slow down and they can sell, we are working round deploying people to check to ensure such potholes are fixed.
Are there penalties for destruction of roads after it is being repaired?
To be honest, everybody has to take ownership of the road. You have a part to play; I have a part to play. We all have to take ownership of the road. Government is going round, taskforce at black spots but any spot, the key is to take ownership of the road whereby on your own while going and you see something being done on road abuse, all you need do is to get information across to us, the taskforce or any government official. That responsibility is the responsibility of all of us. Everybody should take responsibility of road infrastructure, road abuse so that it last.
What efforts are being made to ensure inner roads are being captured as compared to major reconstruction?
Am glad that the narrative from where we are and when are we going to be there is changing. I assure you, it’s a journey of a thousand miles, which starts with a step. Governor SanwoOlu started the step and it will continue. However, we have a big database. There are lists of roads that we intend to work on continuously. In Agege, we have worked on Dopemu; In Ajeromi, we are going to work on it. In Alimosho, we have done Ipaja to Moshalashi, Moshalasi to Ikotun, Ikotun to Ijegun, we have worked on Lasu-Iba road, there are still roads there that are not yet done, so it is in other local government. If you go to Apapa, we have worked on Park lane and Mobil road.
In Eti-Osa we have worked on different sections of different places. The outer marina, bonny camp axis, the ramp down from Falomo bridge into Ozumba, we have worked there. When you come to Ikeja, Toyin Street that goes all the way to Customs and the extension into Olowu, Adeniyi Jones, from Ikeja bus stop through Ajao road to Oba Akran have been fixed. If you can recall, Ifako-Ijaiye, Jonathan Coker road from the railway, the paving stone section was fixed. We have worked on Agbe road, College road. All am saying is that we would be at the places we haven’t been soon. Our attention has been drawn to some of the roads that we haven’t touched, our engineers have gone out, we have databases and in Lagos Island, we have worked at Tapa, we have worked at Oshodi street, Mainland; Tobi Lawal.
Then coming to Badagry, for example, I want you to take me up, in another week, we are moving there. There would be gangs there resident there and we already have a couple of roads earmarked to be done in Badagry. Roads like Hospital road, Mosafejo road among others. But in all these local government areas, you need to know that these are just some of the roads. So it’s a continuous process. We would be there. We have programmes at Ajeromi as well. What you should also know is that the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has a larger database because we are primarily responsible. Some of these jobs are total construction, they require total rehab, but once there is a repair, everyone beckons on LSPWC. Meanwhile, at the holistic level the Ministry has a holistic programme where I can’t say what is in the programme but I know for sure all those local governments have been visited and due process is ongoing.
What should be the expectations of Lagosians on road repairs?
I agree there is room for improvement but I will also want to ask the populace to persevere where we are not yet, we are going to get there. The journey continues, we are not going to rest on our oars. It is going to be a continuous programme and I know we would soon move into Badagry, we have worked at some locations in Epe. We would continue to move. The expansion would be seen very soon. All I can do is to assure you that where we are not, your locality where our presence is not been felt, in very nearest future we would be there.
In terms of percentage, how far have you gone?
When you look at numbers of road in Lagos and you want to go on percentage, at this place we pride ourselves on working on any roads that will reduce traffic congestion. For percentage, let us keep on working on strategic, critical roads to maximally drop travel time and we would move from the primary roads to the secondary roads and the tertiary roads.