Motorists and residents of Apapa GRA have heaved a sigh of relief as reconstruction work has started on the terribly dilapidated Liverpool Road which links Apapa-Wharf Road the ports and Apapa-Oshodi Expressway through Point Road.
Liverpool Road which begins from Point Road and terminates at Liverpool Round About has been rendered impassable by trailers and tankers, creating ditches and craters, cutting the road into two in some cases, and shutting out residents, especially those living on Child Avenue other adjoining streets.
Most residential and commercial buildings along this road have estate agent’s ‘To Let’ board on them, meaning that the owners or former occupants have vacated and taken residence in saner parts of town. This also means more pressure on family income or company bottomline that could have served other purposes.
When BusinessDay visited the reconstruction site this morning, Hitech which is the contractor on the project, was seen along with its sister company, ITB Construction Company, fully moboilised, and scraping the road in preparation for resurfacing it with concrete pavement to be supplied by ITB.
A construction worker on site, who did not want to be named, explained to this reporter that what they had just started would take about three months to complete, adding that the project was part of the bigger project involving the reconstruction of the entire stretch of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway to be undertaken by Dangote Group at the cost of N72 billion.
Residents of Apapa GRA have hailed the reconstruction of the Liverpool Road which has been closed to traffic to enable the contractor create one lane that will be used by trucks coming from the Apapa-Ijora bridge to access the ports.
“This is a welcome development, but a lot of havoc has been done to our properties and the environment as a whole”, noted Ayo Vaughan, chairman, Apapa GRA Residents Association, in a telephone interview.
Vaughan lamented that the manual call up system which was put in place by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders to regulate and control movement of trucks in and out of the ports has collapsed because of the large scale extortion going on at the various checkpoints manned by members of the taskforce who are supposed to enforce the call up system.
“The task force is working but their best is not good enough; they make a lot of money from the truck drivers, using proxies who collect money from the drivers on their behalf,” he said, recalling how he had to monitor the activities of the task force and discovered that a truck driver spends upwards of N80,000 before he gets into the ports.
Congestion and gridlock in Apapa and environs returned forcefully in Apapa in the last couple of weeks, making commuting to the premier port city a very difficult venture, increasing journey time and cost by over 100 percent. Economic activities have almost been paralysed while residents remain indoors for fear of going out and finding it difficult to return.