Danger, as task force abandons boulders on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway
Between the second and third quarter of this year, a reasonable part of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway (especially the part leading up to the Apapa Port) got really bad.
This situation got worse in the peak of the rainy season, and the constant presence of heavy-duty, container-bearing trucks never helped matter.
With commuters, motorists and other road users suffering immense hardship, the Lagos State government, working in concert with the Federal Government, set up “Operation Restore Sanity” to speedily tackle the hectic and chaotic traffic situation that costs the country millions of naira in loss of goods and man hour.
As matters stand now, the taskforce cannot claim to have succeeded in its assigned task of completely restoring sanity to the all-important road, as residents, commuters and motorists are still experiencing hell, even with the marginal success recorded by the task force.
After the first week of operations, the task force limited its operations to the area around Fatgbems Filling Station, and the Mile 2 area of the road. In doing so, it left behind boulders it used to block the inflow of vehicular traffic from the service lane into the main artery and vise versa.
For instance, as at last Friday, the boulders that were used to cordon off the interception at Cele, Ijesha, Sanya and Coker bus stops were still strewn all over the different locations several weeks after the taskforce appeared to have ended its assignment.
Presently, these boulders have been moved slightly away from the spots where they were earlier placed, hence allowing vehicles from the service lane to access the expressway proper. The fact that these boulders were relocated haphazardly, pose serious risk to motorists and sundry road users
In fact, it was reliably gathered that some commercial drivers forcefully moved some of the boulders from where they were first placed, aided by touts and transport union officials. This was when the taskforce concentrated efforts on sorting out the chaotic traffic situation around Mile 2.
At Cele Bus Stop, about 10 boulders are strewn in two different locations (five apiece) not far from each other. The first five are deposited just by the foot of the Cele Flyover Bridge, while the second batch dumped just metres away from the first, stretched dangerously into motor paths, and unsuspecting motorists usually run into them, especially at night.
Around Conoil Filling Station, still within the fringes of Cele Bus Stop, about three more boulders are placed right in the middle of the service lane. From their placement, it may not take long before they cause a fatal accident. This scenario is replicated at Ijesha, Sanya and Coker bus stops.
A motorist, Mr. Segun Adedayo, wondered why government agents drafted to facilitate the return of sanity on the route, would create scenarios that may end up costing human lives.
“If these boulders are still useful in the assignment given to the task force, they should be better arranged to avoid a situation, where they pose serious dangers to road users. But the annoying aspect of what is happening is that these boulders, which are placed on a major high way are not rightly placed, and no attempt has been made to correct the situation months after.
“The danger to motorists and other road users is more at night when visibility is limited, the road is free, and the average driver is tempted to accelerate, compared to the day when that route often experiences some slow traffic.”
Adedayo, who called on government to remove the boulders in order to save lives, added that any driver that is not familiar with the road could easily run into them.
A commercial bus driver, Tajudeen Sikiru said the boulders were partially moved away from the spots where they were placed because drivers were finding it difficult access the speed lane.
“I expected the government to remove those stones from the expressway once it is through with what it was trying to do. But it now looks like the task force has completed its assignment and those hefty concrete works left there. It was out of fear that some people may meet their untimely death that we helped them to remove some of the heavy stones,” he said.
Photo: Boulder 1-2