Hope is on the rise for disgruntled residents, motorists and commuters plying collapsed Lagos-Badagry Expressway, as Lagos State government is mobilising CCECC, the Chinese contractors to which Lot 2 of the road was awarded, back to site.
Travelers on Nigeria’s section of the ECOWAS road are currently going through unexplainable hardship, as different portions had since collapsed, with attendant daily traffic congestions forcing commuters to spend upwards of five to seven hours for a journey that should take less than one hour.
Since the rains began in March this year, the vehicular movement on the road has gone from bad to worse, as petroleum tankers, container-laden trucks and other vehicles are daily involved in accidents, especially between the Lagos trade fair complex (Abule-Oshun) and Baracks bus stop. Contract for Lot 1 of the road expansion from four to ten lanes was awarded in 2008 by the administration of the former governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola, starting from Eric Moore to Mile 2 and handled by Julius Berger Plc. The Lot 2 was subsequently awarded to CCECC, from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko. Ten years after, the construction work has left residents more miserable, as the state government keeps complaining of lack of funds to complete the road.
However, at the flag off the reconstruction on Tuesday, Obafemi Hamzat, Lagos deputy governor, who was commissioner for works under Fashola, raised fresh hope.
“As you recall it is a massive road, we are expanding four lanes to ten. From Agboju to Trade Fair that road will be completed this year. That is from the four to ten lanes.
“Then palliative measures will start from the Trade Fair all the way to Okokomaiko to make it motorable for our people. While the construction of that parts that takes us to Okokomaiko will continue.”
Hamzat stressed the cooperation between Lagos State and Federal Government, saying the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has awarded the rehabilitation from Igbo-Elerin to Agbara.
He said the rehabilitation by FERMA will maintain the four lanes, the reason being that that axis has pipelines and various infrastructure which must be preserved.
“The federal ministry of works has also awarded from Agbara to Seme border that will be six lanes so you can see the geography now. It makes it easier for our citizens to move and that is the cooperation that is happening amongst the various organs of government presently,’’ he said.
He, however, frowned at the resort to driving against traffic flow on the road, as this comes with the danger of accidents and possible loss of lives.
“A lot of our citizens on the roads are giving excuses that ‘there is no road that is why they have to drive one-way’. Unfortunately, on that same road we saw a young man that was hit by commercial motorcyclist also known as ‘Okada’ while taking one way. So that young man can be anybody’s brother, somebody’s cousin, somebody’s father. So we cannot say because the road is not in good shape and they will now break the law.’’
The permanent secretary, ministry of works and infrastructure, Olujimi Hotonou pointed out that the road is heavily congested, as journey time which used to take 15 to 30 minutes now takes between three to four hours.