The Sun News

Gridlock returns to Lagos roads

… As critical portions of major highways collapse

By Job Osazuwa

In many parts of Lagos, traffic bottlenecks induced by rising cases of collapsed roads have returned with a vengeance. And millions of motorists and commuters are not amused by the situation.

On Ikorodu Road, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and in many other parts of the metropolis, gridlocks have become a permanent feature.

In the past few weeks, residents of Ikorodu have been agonising over the traffic hold-up that stretches from Ketu to Ikorodu. A journey that should not last more than 20 minutes now takes the better part of two hours, a frustrated motorist told the reporter.

Between Oshodi-Oke and Charity on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway are several potholes and craters that cause traffic gridlock up to Anthony. In the past few days, it has been hell for those making use of the highway. A particular expanse of failed, pothole-riddled road from Charity Bus Stop towards Toyota Bus Stop is the cause of the unending traffic between Anthony at Charity on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.   

But the most dangerous road now is a section of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway shortly after Cele Bus Stop. A failed section at the Berliet Bus Stop, shortly after Cele, has turned to a gully. The death trap has been causing commuters and motorists immense pain.

In fact, right now, no car or SUV can comfortably ply the expressway. Motorists now take the service lane, which has a few craters too. The situation has been worsened since the rainy season set in, as motorists take extra caution not to bump into the bad spot. Sometimes, the resulting traffic stretches past Cele Bus Stop.

The unhealthy development has brought back the dark days when commuters wasted many hours on the axis, until Governor Akinwunmi Ambode came to fix the road. He carried out the rehabilitation a few months after he was sworn into office.

However, less than two years after the governor’s intervention on Itire, Sadiku, Toyota, Charity and other bus stops on this federal road, the failed portion between Berliet and Cele has once again reared its ugly head to cause untold hardship for the people.

A tyre repairer, whose workshop is close to the bad section, said he pitied the car owners plying the road, especially at night. He described them as an endangered species and called on Ambode to instruct his men at the Ministry of Works to fix the road.

It was gathered that hoodlums profit from the gridlock in so many ways. They have also invented different strategies to further compound motorists’ woes. One of such ways is to plant sharp objects in the potholes already covered with water. Once any tyre is damaged, the bad boys surface from their hideout and pounce on the hapless motorist. Many, as reliably gathered, have been robbed of their valuables on this spot.

Another resident of the area, Chief Ebuka Daniel, blamed the situation on lack of maintenance by different ministries. He praised the governor for rising up to the occasion when most portions of the expressway were a in total mess in the past.

Said he: “We can’t blame the governor because he did what his predecessors could not do for years. Before he came, they were saying the road belonged to the Federal Government and so they couldn’t repair it. But Ambode did it for the sake of Lagosians who ply the road. It is not possible for the governor to start checking all the roads he did whether they have failed or not.

“I expect the state Ministry of Works or the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), if they still exist, to have quickly done the repairs. The damage is still not really much till this moment. It is what they can fix overnight. We lack maintenance culture in this country. Maybe the authorities are waiting for a trailer to tumble and kill innocent people before they do the needful.”

Kenneth, a young man hawking vehicle wipers in traffic on the road, said the failed portion was a blessing to him and his co-hawkers.

“If you are familiar with this road, you might have observed that in more than one year, there had not been any major traffic from Oshodi to Mile Two. When some people are complaining of a particular thing, some other people will benefit from the same situation. Every morning and evening, l make a lot of sales because that is when the traffic will be much. I’m not happy that the road is bad, but what can I do to change the situation? If I cannot change the situation then I must not waste the opportunity it brings,” he said.

For Okon Gerald, who was directing vehicles to manoeuvre through the only passable spot, said he was voluntarily helping the drivers to stay out of danger. He was also seen removing sharp objects capable of piercing tyres from the crater.

On how the irons, nails and other sharp objects got into the pothole, he said some were washed in there by the erosion while he couldn’t tell how others found their way in.

“Some of the drivers give me money while others don’t. I don’t charge the drivers any amount; I only stretch my hand towards them for possible compensation. Some don’t even wind down their windows to say thank you. I don’t have a job, that is why I sometimes come here to help since the traffic started. Whatever I realise before 7pm, I thank God and use it to take care of my needs when I get home,” Gerald said.

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