Some road users on Thursday appealed to the federal government to take more action to ease traffic congestion as contractors returned to the site after the holiday season to resume construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Work on the OPIC axis, which resulted in traffic congestion and problems for road users in the area, was suspended in December for the holiday season to ease the movement of travelers and relieve motorists.
A Nigeria News Agency (NAN) correspondent who took a drive on section one of the highway on Thursday reports that workmen returning to the site on Tuesday were seen between Kara and OPIC on the Lagos side.
They used earthmoving equipment to scarify some parts, while at the same time placing new construction material on other parts.
Officials from the Federal Roads Safety Corps and TRACE checked traffic at the U-turn around the OPIC/Fatgbems gas station.
Traffic on the Lagos-bound side of the highway moved slowly around noon when the NAN correspondent visited, with some motorists saying they were delayed by about an hour in construction caused by the contractors’ return to the site .
Some road users praised the quick return to the construction site, but stressed the need to minimize the hardship caused by the traffic congestion around construction zones.
Mr. Osas Idohasa, a commercial bus driver operating on the Ikeja-Ojodu and Wawa-Arepo routes, praised the swift resumption of works but called for urgent action against gridlock and rapid completion of the project.
Idohasa said he would henceforth study traffic conditions before transporting passengers on the Wawa-Arepo axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to minimize loss of revenue and man hours.
“How much do I earn daily for allowing myself to be in traffic?” he asked.
Mr. Tirimisiu Adigun, a commercial motorcyclist operating in Beger-Arepo, advocated the construction of alternative routes to ease congestion, to make the highway safer.
Mr. Suleiman Alabi, a tipper driver at Fatgbems Bus Stop, appealed to Julius Berger to give back to society by always using recyclable building materials to fill bad sections along the highway to improve the driving experience.
“The government should tell Julius Berger to flatten that other job at Wawa to Fatgbems. They should use all this waste to go and fill all the bad portions there. They should do it as their corporate social responsibility.
“I personally dropped 12 pieces of rubble there as part of my own contribution to preventing accidents and saving businesses. Nobody paid me,” he said.
Mr Taiwo Adeniran and Ms Peace Okey, a resident of Ibafo, a panelist at Fatgbems, joined other motorists in advocating for traffic congestion measures to increase the safety of road users.
They expressed concern about crime and delinquency between Berger and Long Bridge, usually caused by gridlock, while lamenting that the situation was usually worse at night.
The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr. Umar Bakare, replied that Julius Berger was working to quickly fix sections between Kara and Long Bridge that they were unable to complete before the holidays.
Bakare, who is in charge of section one of the project that spans Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange, said alternate routes around OPIC and Isheri would be reinstated to ease congestion.
He said the adjacent Isheri Road passing in front of OPIC would be upgraded and made drivable to accommodate traffic overflow caused by diversions as work moves to the Ibadan-bound lanes.
The controller said roads adjacent to the Otedola Bridge Section on the highway around CMD Road would also be made drivable to ease traffic.
However, he said it was impossible to create alternative routes on the Lagos-bound side between the Long Bridge and Kara, where work was currently underway, because the section was a right of way for gas pipelines.
“For the remaining permanent jobs, we are already on the drawing board with a traffic management plan, we are also in discussions with other stakeholders such as the police, the Federal Roads Safety Corps, the Ogun and Lagos agencies responsible for traffic management, which is talking about LASTMA and TRACE.
“We are also in talks with the Ministries of Transport, Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State. We will make announcements about our road activities from time to time.
“We believe this will help raise public awareness about the nature of our work and diversion,” he said.
Speaking of the under-construction Lotto interchange bridge, Bakare said the main carriageway would be given priority to ease passage for motorists before the bridge is completed.
He said the government was passionate about completing both part one, which stretches from Ojota in Lagos state to Sagamu Interchange, and part two, which stretches from Sagamu Interchange to Ojoo in Ibadan, on schedule in the first quarter of 2023.
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