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Commuters enduring nightmare at Oshodi-Apapa expressway

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[File] Trucks completely blocking a section of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway at Second Rainbow inward Mile 2. PHOTO: TONYE BAKARE


Adewale Akani resides around Cele Bus Stop, along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, while his workshop is located in the Oshodi area of the state.For years, toing and froing the workshop used to be relatively with ease, as he plied the service lane of the ever-busy expressway as early as 7am, and returned as late as 11pm.

But in the last six months or thereabout, he and other road users have been having a raw deal on a stretch of the road. No thanks to truck drivers, who are making life very uncomfortable for other road users. As Akani drove home on Saturday August 10, 2019, all was well until he breezed past the Five Star Bus Stop. Barely 200 metres away from the bus stop, he noticed that heavy-duty trucks lined both sides of the service lane, leaving room for just a vehicle to go at a time. But he suddenly met a dead-end just after the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAGDAC) Complex.

For a while he thought the truck was snaking around in search of a space to fit in. But it soon dawned on him that the engine was off and the truck immobile.He stepped out of his vehicle, walked up only to find out that the driver was not in the vehicle, which was parked right in the middle of the road.“Who ever parked this truck here should come and remove it now. How can you people turn the service lane of an expressway into parking lot? What nonsense is this?” He bellowed to no one in particular.

To his shock, the drivers and motor boys huddled not far from the entrance of one of the warehouses responded, “Oga, the road don block, go take express.”Peeved at the response, he shouted himself hoarse, but he got no further response from the drivers.By this time, a couple of vehicles had queued behind him and were blaring their horns not knowing what was the case ahead.

Eventually, all of them reversed and drove against the traffic on the speed lane as the truck drivers advised them.This is the situation that most users of that stretch of the road now find themselves, as articulated vehicles continue to run riot without considerations for other road users.
Daily, indications arise that the incessant traffic gridlock along this stretch of the road would hardly come to an end as these heavy-duty trucks take turns to, either off-load or pick up goods from some of the warehouses around that flank.

In recent times, these trucks are carelessly parked for days on the service lane from Toyota Bus Stop down to Ilasa, despite all efforts made by the federal and Lagos State governments to ensure free flow of traffic on the road.The presence of these trucks is now heavily noticed from Ilasa to Iyana-Isolo, with the situation between Iyana Isolo, NAFDAC Complex and Five Star Bus Stop being the worse case scenario.

When The Guardian visited the area, more than 100 trucks were parked on the speed lane and on both sides of the service lane, between Ilasa and Five Star Bus Stop. Although the cause of the continuous gridlock on most part of the road is generally blamed on its dilapidated nature, some road users, especially around this flank now blame it on the presence of the heavy-duty trucks waiting to either load, or off-load their contents.

One of the truck drivers, who gave his name as Ibrahim Dantata, said they were forced to wait for their turn on the road, as there were not enough parking spaces in the premises where they transact businesses. Dantata, a staff of Dangote Group said: “We have a temporary park at Isolo rented by Dangote management, but the space is not enough for us. That is why we park our vehicles by the roadside. If we had enough space around the warehouses, and in our park, we would not be on the service lane.”He, however, added that if bad portions on the road were fixed, the pathetic traffic situation would improve just as money lost on destroyed goods and vehicle repairs would be reduced.

Other than those that ply the service lane, residents of Papa Ajao area of Mushin, who want to access the expressway are also subjected to hard times, as the knotty traffic situation at Iyana Isolo during peak periods, sometimes force them to remain in traffic snarl for hours. During such periods, accessing the expressway from Oye Roundabout (a distance that is less than one kilometre) could take more than one hour. Same applies to getting to Iyana Isolo from Olanibi Street.

Another motorist, Mrs. Juliana Oladenjo, who deplored the poor state of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway said: “We live in a country where every government does anything it likes without being questioned. This road has been like this for a very long time with very little done to put it in good shape until recently. I am really disappointed that the government turned deaf ears to the plight of motorists plying this route for so long. We are tired of spending hours to transit from Mile 2 to Oshodi. This is really unfortunate.”

Mr. Adeola Mathew, a commuter questioned: “How long would it take the Federal Government to address the gridlock on this road and save us for the travails that we are daily subjected to? I really feel bad because taking this route gives me serious headache. The Federal Government must come to our aid and fix this road.”

Mrs. Ronke Lawal, a resident of Isolo also appealed to the government to spare commuters the horror they face on the road, and hasten up the repair process. Interestingly, she took sides with truck and tanker drivers saying, “no one should blame the tanker drivers for blocking the road because government has failed to provide them with any alternative, neither is it bothered by what they also face in the course of their legitimate duties.


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