Some road users on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government to adopt more measures to reduce gridlock as contractors returned to the site after the festive season to resume construction works on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Work on the OPIC axis, which resulted in traffic snarl-ups and hardship to road users in the area, was suspended in December for the festive season to ease the movement of travellers, bringing relief to motorists.
It was gathered that Section One of the highway on Thursday showed that workmen who returned to the site on Tuesday were seen between Kara and OPIC on the Lagos-bound side. They were using earth-moving equipment to scarify some portions while at the same time laying fresh construction materials on other sections.
Also, officials of the Federal Roads Safety Corps and TRACE were seen controlling traffic around the OPIC/Fatgbems filling station. Some of the road users commended the swift return to the site but emphasised the need to minimise hardship caused by the impact of gridlock around construction zones.
Mr Osas Idohasa, a commercial bus driver who plies the Ikeja-Ojodu and Wawa-Arepo routes, commended the quick resumption of works but appealed for urgent measures against gridlock as well as speedy completion of the project.
Idohasa said he would henceforth study the traffic situation before conveying passengers on the Wawa-Arepo axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to minimise loss of revenue and man-hours. “How much do I make daily that I will allow myself to sit inside traffic?” he queried.
Mr Tirimisiu Adigun, a commercial motorcycle operator who plies Beger-Arepo, appealed for the construction of alternative routes to ease congestion, to make the highway safer.
Also, Mr Suleiman Alabi, a tipper driver at Fatgbems Bus Stop, appealed to Julius Berger to give back to society by always using recyclable construction materials to fill bad portions along the highway to improve the driving experience.
“Government should tell Julius Berger to go and grade that other lane at Wawa to Fatgbems. They should use all these waste materials to go and fill all the bad portions there. They should do it as their corporate social responsibility. I personally dropped 12 trips of rubbles there as part of my own contribution to prevent accidents and save businesses. No one paid me,” he said.
They expressed worry over crime and criminality perpetuated between Berger and the Long Bridge, usually caused by the gridlock while lamenting that the situation was usually worse at night.
Responding, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Mr Umar Bakare, said Julius Berger was working to quickly fix portions between Kara and Long Bridge that they could not complete before the holiday.
Bakare, who is in charge of Section One of the project which spans Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange, said alternative routes around OPIC and Isheri would be rehabilitated to ease congestion.
He said adjoining Isheri Road that passes in front of OPIC would be upgraded and made motorable to accommodate traffic spillover caused by diversions when work moves to the Ibadan-bound lanes.
The controller said that roads adjacent to the Otedola Bridge Section on the highway around CMD Road would also be made motorable to ease movement.
He, however, said it was impossible to create alternative routes on the Lagos-bound side between the Long Bridge and Kara where work was currently ongoing because the portion was a Right of Way for gas pipelines.
“For the remaining permanent jobs, we are already on the drawing table with a traffic management plan, we are also discussing with other stakeholders like the Police, Federal Roads Safety Corps, and the agencies of Ogun and Lagos States in charge of traffic management, that is talking about LASTMA and TRACE.
“We are also discussing with ministries of Transportation, Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State. We are going to be making announcements about our operations on the road from time to time.
“This, we believe, will help to properly sensitise the public on the nature of our work and diversion,” he said.
Speaking about the Lotto interchange bridge under construction, Bakare said the main carriageway would be given priority to ease passage for motorists before the completion of the bridge.
He said the government was passionate about completing both section one, which spans Ojota in Lagos State to Sagamu Interchange, and Section two, which spans Sagamu Interchange to Ojoo in Ibadan, on schedule in the first quarter of 2023.