Re: Lagos needs to do more on infrastructure

The above editorial published in BusinessDay of Wednesday, February 17, 2021 attempts to give an impression that the current administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State has neglected road infrastructure, unlike his predecessors such as Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode.

Our reaction to this is that there is a need to further provide the writer(s) of the said editorial and others who hold similar views with accurate information about what the Sanwo-Olu-led government has been doing and still doing to improve the condition of roads across the state in the last 18 months.

Road infrastructure development remains an essential vehicle for realizing the current administration’s ‘Greater Lagos’ vision. This informed Governor Sanwo-Olu’s signing of his first Executive Order on Indiscriminate Refuse Dumping, Traffic Management, and Public Work.

The results are already there for the residents to see. For instance, in a few days’ time the Agege Pen Cinema Bridge will be opened for public use. The good news is not just about the completion of the bridge, it is also about the reconstruction of adjoining roads leading to it, which have all been reconstructed with proper drainage system and street lights.

But efforts of the government in road construction have started yielding dividends long before now. On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, the Oshodi-Abule-Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor was opened with the unveiling of 560 high and medium capacity buses that are already plying the route in the pilot phase of the scheme. The long-term objective is to reduce traffic congestions along the axis.

The project covers a full rehabilitation of the 4-lane carriageway along the entire corridor, 11 new pedestrian bridges and three other rehabilitated and modified ones, street lighting along the corridor and within bus stations, traffic signalization, traffic system measures such as traffic signs and road markings, longitudinal and transverse service ducts and retaining walls among others.

Completion of the Oshodi-Abule Egba BRT Corridor is in line with the aspiration of the Sanwo-Olu administration to solve the perennial traffic gridlock in the State through an effective and efficient transport system, which is also key to the building of a 21st century economy which is central to the attainment of a ‘Greater Lagos’.

Also, on Thursday, September 24, 2020, the Oniru network of roads in Victoria Island and Lekki axis was inaugurated by Governor Sanwo-Olu. The road network project, done in partnership with Access Bank Plc, measuring around 1.8 kilometers, has improved traffic flow, reduced travel time and eliminated the perennial flooding challenge.

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The project involved the dualisation, expansion, construction and rehabilitation of some roads, junction and turning radius. It also included the provision of a new drainage system, re-routing some roads as one way and signalization. Some of the roads delivered under the project are Ligali Ayorinde Muri Okunola–Aboyade Cole, Yesufu Abiodun Oniru, and Ligali Ayorinde/Akinbolagbe/Okene amongst

The key outcome from the completion of the project is traffic diffusion, which has made a considerable positive impact on businesses and residents living in the area. Also, the project has led to an improvement in road connectivity, improved traffic flow, reduced travel time, decline in flooding, heightened intermodal transportation and improved health and socio-economic well- being of the residents.

Similarly, work had been completed on six major road junctions within the state and they have since been opened for use. These include first and second Roundabouts, Lekki, Ajah Roundabout, Allen Avenue Roundabout, Ikotun Roundabout and Maryland junction.

Works done on the junctions included the removal of the roundabouts, and separating the streams of traffic through adequate traffic signalization, synchronization of the traffic signal lights through intelligent traffic system to recognise traffic densities and prioritize same, increase the capacities of the roads through lane stacking, upgrading of alternative roads and erecting of pedestrian barriers to separate pedestrian and vehicular conflicts on the roads.

This is in fulfillment of the government’s promise to unlock traffic gridlock in the 60 trouble zones identified at the beginning of the present administration.

In same vein, on May 29th, 2020 the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) for Bus Reform Scheme at Ikeja and Oshodi Bus Terminals, Oyingbo Bus Terminal, Fadipe/Salami/Eyiowuawi/Odubanjo Streets in Shomolu LGA, Alhaji Akinwunmi Street, Mushin LGA and Adagun-Imeke-Iworo-Ajido-Epeme Road, Badagry LGA were all opened for public use by Mr. Governor.

Equally, on Saturday, May 30, 2020, Mr. Governor flagged-off construction of Lekki Regional Road. The 10km long road takes off at Victoria Garden City and terminates at Freedom Road, Lekki Scheme1. The road, upon completion, would serve as an alternative to the Lekki-Epe Expressway, which is already very congested and is at present the only road serving the Lekki Sub-region.

Similarly, the reconstruction of the 18.75 kilometers Lekki-Epe Expressway, stretching from Eleko to T-Junction in Epe, has commenced. The road was constructed in 1981 as a single carriageway, but underwent an upgrade to a two-lane carriageway in 2006. Its condition, however, became deplorable as a result of population growth and increased vehicular traffic. The reconstruction was flagged-off by Mr. Governor to aid socio-economic activities in the zone, thereby giving investors better value for their money.

That the government is embarking on such project in-spite of the economic recession, dwindling financial resources occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the most recent unwarranted violence unleashed on government infrastructure during the #EndSARS protest, testifies to the unalloyed commitment of the Sanwo-Olu administration to the provision of sustainable road infrastructure throughout the State.

Furthermore, on January 3rd, 2020, the four kilometers stretch of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway from Agboju to Trade Fair was opened for public use by Mr. Governor, while also declaring the commencement of construction work on the Phase II of the project, which will take off from Trade Fair to the main gate of the Lagos State University (LASU) in Iba Town. The construction of the Phase II of the expressway is expected to be completed in October, after which the final phase will take off.

A major highlight of the State Government’s intervention in road infrastructure was the commissioning of 31 network of roads in the Ojokoro area of the State. The Sanwo-Olu Administration moved to complete the roads to relieve residents of the agony brought about by perennial traffic gridlock in the area.

The completion of these networks of roads has offered traffic relief to the area, improved socio-economic activities and interconnectivity to the neighbouring Ogun State. The 20.2 km. length of network of road executed in two phases also creates easy access and reliefs the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

In the Ketu-Mile 12 axis, construction work has been completed on the bad portion of the road, while several road projects are ongoing in the Ikorodu axis. For instance, the rehabilitation/upgrading of the Agric-Isawo Road into a 4-lane dual carriageway is on course. It was conceived to link the Ikorodu axis with Lagos-Ibadan Expressway through Arepo in Ogun State.

Also, rehabilitation of Oba Sekumade Road is on-going, while Ipakodo, Ikorodu; Ijegun-Egbe Road and Ishuti Road, Igando are completed. Oba Sekumade Road, a major strategic way that serves as the only alternate road from Ikorodu town to link Lagos-Ikorodu Road, connects about 20 communities in Ikorodu West LCDA to Ogolonto Bus Stop on the Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway. It terminates at the Ikorodu Jetty, a major hub for water transportation to Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and to Epe and Badagry divisions. Also, work is advancing on the Bola Tinubu-Igbogbo-Imota Road in Ikorodu. Construction of the 6km phase I of 11 km long Ijede road has also reached an advanced stage.

Similarly, 90 palliatives and 261 sectional rehabilitations were done on roads in Agege; Ajeromi Ifelodun; Alimosho; Amuwo-Odofin; Apapa; Badagry; Epe; Eti-Osa; Ifako-Ijaiye; Ikeja; Ikorodu; Kosofe; Lagos Island; Lagos Mainland; Mushin; Oshodi-Isolo; Shomolu and Surulere.

The government has also commenced the construction of 19.39-kilometre road network in Ijegun- Ijagemo and Ijedodo in Ojo Local Government, while massive repair were carried out on the Ojota stretch of Ikorodu Road and Motorways – Kudirat Abiola Way, Apongbon Highway and Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction among others.

In the Badagry zone, the Aradagun-Imeke-Iworo-Ajido-Epeme Road Phase II has been completed to complement the earlier concluded phase I, while phase III has also been awarded and preliminary works already in progress. The project is designed to connect the Lagos -Badagry Expressway.

Also, work is continuing on the Ishefun- Camp Davies-Ijon Road network in Alimosho, Ridwan Onifade/Ademoye Street, Arida Bus-Stop before Ikotun- Oduduwa Road, and TOS Benson (Ebute Roundabout inward garage). Same goes for the Cele-Ijesha link Bridge (Okota Road), Ijesha -Lawanson Junction by Otun-Oba Bus-Stop and Ishaga Road by LUTH and Ondo Street, Ebute-Metta. Rehabilitation work has also been done at Agbado Road (Lagos-Ogun Boundary to Ayinla Bus-Stop), Ifako-Ijaiye.

Similarly, the Lagos State Public Work Corporation has undertaken palliative intervention on over 500 roads across the State, working sometimes at nights.

We cannot possibly exhaust discussion on the number of roads that have been reconstructed, those being reconstructed and the ones undergoing repair in a single write-up of this type. The fact, however, is that no government in the history of the country has done as much in the area of road construction as the Sanwo-Olu administration under 18 months and given the various fundamental distractions.

Yes, we agree that much still needs to be done. Lagos is vast with over 18,000 networks of roads, and the government has other equally pressing sectors and issues to attend to.

To demonstrate its commitment to do more for Lagosians in terms of road infrastructure development, the prospect of a 4th Mainland Bridge is also getting brighter as eight out of the over 30 firms that expressed interest in the project have been shortlisted, while a stakeholder forum was held on the project toward the end of 2020 at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja.

Integrated mass transportation initiative has also recorded a huge progress with the successful completion of the elevated sea-crossing track of the Blue Line Mass transit project. Construction work has since begun on the final phase. The project is a top priority for the current administration, as it is critical to the achievement of its prioritized pillar of traffic management and transportation in its six-point development agenda.

Also, to effectively integrate a sustainable intermodal transportation system, Governor Sanwo-Olu commissioned eight new state- of-the-art ferries in February 2020. Very soon, additional 8 boats would be added to the fleet. The process has already been concluded

The truth is that no government can do everything, not even in the advanced nations. What cannot, however, be disputed is that the Sanwo-Olu administration is ever committed to doing as much as it could to ensure a better life for Lagosians.

We enjoin more corporate organisations to take a cue from Access Bank and the likes by partnering with the government to develop more road infrastructure in the state. Also, we implore Lagosians to keep performing their civic responsibilities, protect public infrastructure and embrace peaceful coexistence.

Together, we will attain the ‘Greater Lagos’ of our collective aspiration.

*Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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