As a resident of Ajah axis of Lagos since the mid-2000s, when setting out for daily activities in the morning used to be terribly nightmarish, it was with a sigh of relief that I received the news of the contracting of the expansion of the Ajah-Lekki Expressway to the Lekki Construction Company (LCC) sometime in late 2006. Work started on the project in 2007, and we all regarded the further traffic gridlocks that occasioned the construction works as a necessary though bitter pill needed to solve our problem.
It is very unfortunate that in 2013, six years on, this road has not been completed. The length of time this project is taking calls to question the competence of the handlers, as one wonders why a 50-kilometre road expansion (adding just a lane per side, not fresh construction) will take so long. Worse still, works have been practically abandoned for months now, leaving us residents of the deeper parts of the axis at the mercy of renewed traffic gridlocks, that usually start after the Conservation Toll plaza every evening.
But while the post-toll plaza traffic is at least bearable, given the fact that we experience it on our way back from work when we are not exactly in a hurry, the poor execution of this project has created fresh nightmare for us residents of Addo/Badore/Langbasa axis. This is the worst part of it. Due to the obviously ill-planned roundabout at Ajah, the space available for vehicles coming from our axis to connect Ajah roundabout is too narrow for the volume of vehicular traffic in that Badore/Langbasa, one of the fastest developing parts of Lagos. Even if one is not a professional construction engineer, common sense calls for overhead bridge in that area, or a smaller roundabout, or another route to connect the road to another part of Ajah.
Whatever the solution is, the current ugly situation appears a robbery to us residents of that axis. Before the construction of that Ajah roundabout, we didn’t use to experience that traffic. The bad planning in the construction of that roundabout has brought untold hardship on us.
Addo to Ajah that took not more than 10 minutes to drive in the past, now takes 60 to 90 minutes in the morning. Yet, some of us are contracted to arrive our Victoria Island workplaces before 8am. If one spends one and a half hours before reaching Ajah alone, one leaves the reader to imagine the number of hours it takes to get to work, when there are other traffic spots like the Agungi side, the Lekki roundabout and Admiralty Toll Gate before reaching VI.
Some of us whose health cannot withstand waking up 4am and hitting the road 4:30am everyday, and as such cannot leave home earlier than 6am, have no option than to abandon our cars at home and ‘fly’ commercial motorcycles to Ajah roundabout before joining commercial transport, with all the safety and security risks, for that is the only way we can reach our workplaces before 8am. That is the only way we have been beating the LCC roundabout-induced Ajah-Addo traffic, which stretches two kilometres or more and takes not less than one hour. This was not the case before that Olympic-size Ajah roundabout was constructed.
So far, at least for those of us that live in deeper parts of Ajah, the six years construction exercise by LCC has only shifted the points of traffic burden, it has not eliminated it. For a project that we thought will bring smiles to our faces when it started, this turn of event is very unfortunate.
Oyewale, a chartered accountant, wrote from Lagos
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