Several roads in Lagos, including those built by the Federal Government, have been in bad condition due to several factors. The state of the roads has resulted in undue hardship for road users and other commuters who spend hours in gridlocks. But bad roads may soon be a thing of the past as the state government has launched a massive road maintenance project following a directive by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. JOSEPH JIBUEZE reports.
Residents of Ikotun/Ejigbo area of Lagos State will not forget in a hurry the hardship they had to endure for years passing through the Ikotun-Ejigbo-Isolo Road. Those who live in Okota area also have similar sad tales to tell. Protracted gridlocks caused by bad roads were common, but road users in those areas are beginning to heave a sigh of relief.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode paid an unscheduled visit to the area, describing the state of the roads as unacceptable. He assured residents of a face lift.
The result of his promise is that the deplorable portions from Egbe Bridge to Ikotun have disappeared, while work is ongoing on the remaining bad portions, most of which have been levelled to make movement easier.
On the Ago Palace Way in Okota, the General Manager, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Li Bing, said the rehabilitation will be completed in three months.
He spoke when the road was inspected by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ajibade Bade-Adebowale.
During the inspection, Governor Ambode said he received distress calls on the roads’ condition. He said he went “to see things for myself”.
“The road is too strategic as it serves as a major link road connecting several local government areas. Hence, it cannot be left at the state it is currently,” he said of the Ikotun-Ejigbo Road.
He said the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) had been mobilised to provide palliatives to ease gridlocks often experienced along the corridor.
Ambode added that the state government would provide some degree of respite and succour for the people, adding that his administration “will never take people and any part of the state for granted.”
In line with that directive, the LSPWC, on Wednesday last week, formally launched what it called “Operation Fix the Potholes” project.
It will involve repairing bad spots on major roads within the metropolis. The project, which is already ongoing in various parts of the state, was officially inaugurated at Berger with road repairs around the axis.
General Manager of LSPWC, Ayotunde Sodeinde said Governor Ambode directed that all roads in Lagos, including those belonging to the Federal Government, must be fixed.
According to Sodeinde, repairs will be done at night in areas with heavy traffic. Roads with light traffic will be fixed during the day to ease vehicular movement.
Sodeinde took journalists on a tour of some roads undergoing major reconstruction, such as Metalbox Road, which connects Wemco and Acme roads in Ikeja.
He said: “We’ve been waiting for a favourable weather, although we’ve done a lot of roads already. By the time we finish the operation, we would have touched 192 roads.
“A lot of our roads have pot holes but we’ll fix them. We’re going to do it across Lagos. Where we discover that we cannot use asphalt, such as water-logged areas that won’t allow asphalt to stay, we’ll use paving stones.
“We want to guarantee residents of Lagos that we won’t stop until all pot holes are covered. It’s what we’ll be doing everyday and you will be seeing the results soon. We’re working in areas with light traffic during the day. But where there is usually heavy traffic during the day, the work will be done at night.
“We’ve been doing federal roads. To our governor, all roads being plied by lagosians must be fixed. There is no distinction between federal, state or local government roads. He asked us to “attack” all the roads because he wants to ensure that he alleviates the suffering of lagosians,” Sodeinde said.
Asked to name some of the roads to be repaired, Sodeinde said virtually every road in Lagos with pot holes or bad spots that restrict free flow of traffic will be touched.
“Hardly will you see a road in Lagos without a pot hole. So, we’re going to visit everywhere and ensure that we erase all the pot holes,” he said.
The LSPWC boss called for the co-operation of all residents, saying: “we can’t see everything. Although we have people who inspect or monitor the roads, road users can also contact us.”
He said residents can contact LSPWC with information on roads in need of urgent repairs via its email: firstname.lastname@example.org or his phone number: 08023131820. Road users can also submit complaints via its website: http://www.lspwc-ng.com.
Sodeinde urged residents to avoid pouring water, washing vehicles, servicing cars, or burning firewood or charcoal on tarred roads.
He said: “Water and petroleum products are not friendly to asphalt. People who sell roasted plantain, maize, akara (bean cake) should not do it on the road because fire is not good for asphalt.”
He said the agency has received several complaints regarding the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, and that work was already ongoing on the road.
“Even though it is a federal road, I can assure you that we have moved into that road,” he said.
Already, people are beginning to appreciate the governor’s intervention. Residents of Ejigbo and Ikotun areas of Lagos have commended Ambode on the commencement of repair works of Ikotun-Ejigbo-Isolo and Okota roads, which had been a nightmare for motorists.
The Ekerin of Isolo, Chief Samina Lawal, praised the governor for the action and appealed for speedy execution of the project.
An Igbo leader in Lagos, Kanayo Osondu urged the government to consider a total rehabilitation of the road, while admitting that the palliative work has reduced travel time from Ago Roundabout to Cele-Express.
Osondu said: “Before this palliative work, we usually spend about one hour to move from ago roundabout to Cele bus stop, but since the road was repaired, it takes just about five minutes to get to Cele Express. It is a good measure for traffic to flow.
“You know that people going to Ikotun-Egbe, Jakande Estate and Ijegun all ply through Cele and the traffic is always heavy. We thank the governor for this quick intervention.
“But then, if nothing concrete is done, by the time rain comes again, it would wash away the palliative measure taken. It is better the contract is awarded so that a permanent solution can be put in place,” he said.
The immediate past chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said people of the area are excited that within months of Ambode’s administration, he could promptly come to their aid.
He pointed out that the road could not cater for the high population living in the area, which makes its repair and maintenance imperative.
LSPWC has vowed to ensure that the governor’s vision is realised. Sodeinde said: “The LSPWC is an agency charged with the primary responsibility of maintaining and rehabilitating state roads.
“Having creditably done this for almost 30 years, evidence of the corporation’s work is all over various communities in the city and suburbs of the state.
“Lagos State’s peculiar topography, population and general environmental characteristics make the task of making all roads motorable a daunting one. However, members of staff of the corporation are ready, willing and able to give all it takes to succeed against all odds,” he said.