Slow start to Lagos road repairs

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THE rehabilitation of roads across Lagos State has kicked off as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu directed on Sunday. The governor declared a state of emergency on the roads following public outcry on their deplorable state.

The governor mandated eight engineering firms to immediately mobilise their equipment to sites and commence major work on identified roads including the Ojota stretch of Ikorodu Road, Kudirat Abiola Way, Apogbon Highway, Idi-Oro in Mushin, Babs Animashaun Road, Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu as well as Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.

A statement by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure Aramide Adeyoye also indicated there would be massive re-construction work on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.

Checks by The Nation on Monday revealed that work had commenced in some of the roads while construction workers were yet to arrive at others.

One of the roads mentioned by Governor Sanwo-Olu is Babs Animashaun Road in Surulere where our correspondents observed construction workers were yet to move to site.

Deep potholes have taken over a portion of the road forcing residents to abandon it and face oncoming vehicles on the other side. It was observed that the potholes were flooded which commercial motorcyclists turned to a makeshift carwash.

Lamenting the gridlock, a trader Madam Ngozi said vehicles were usually trapped for hours.

“At times, there will be standstill especially when vehicles broke down. The traffic will be massive even Okada riders will find it difficult to navigate. We need the presence of government here,” she said.

Similarly, a vulcaniser Hamzat Raji said the road was last repaired during Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, adding that its state worsened over six months ago.

He said, “The absence of good drainage made the road to get damaged. The water has no other route except the road. Those potholes are very deep.”

A commercial tricycle operator Sola Aro who said he was elated when he heard on the radio that the road would be fixed, expressed disappointment there were no construction workers on site.

“I was happy that at last, we will be relieved. I am disappointed that the construction workers are yet to be on site. You need to see what people go through here every day. Many unsuspecting motorists have had their vehicles trapped in those flood-filled potholes. They were assisted by some boys and the Okada riders to lift them out and parted with good money.

“Some vehicles that could not continue moving were towed away. The towing vehicles also charged them heavily. The earlier the contractors started working on the road, the better for many of us plying this route,” Aro said.

At Moshalashi bus stop in Mushin, officials of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) were seen engaging in palliative measures.

An engineer with the agency Bola Ogun said he was assigned to work on Jibowu axis.

Ogun said he decided to come to Moshalashi with the leftover materials after completion of the Jibowu assignment.

Shortly after his vehicle left the spot, two vehicles hit themselves and led to traffic congestion.

The public works vehicle that was supposed to drop materials to fill the potholes at Idi-Aro developed a fault at the Bus Stop. A mechanic was seen trying to fix it. This caused heavy traffic that stretched back to Moshalashi Bus Stop.

Some motorists, however, were not impressed with the palliative measure. To them, it would take a single heavy downpour to wash away the stones used for the filling.

“They just pour stones here and left. Is this what they call palliative measures? I can bet you it won’t last the next two weeks before rain washes them off,” Jude, a commercial bus operator told The Nation.

Another danfo driver, Sege Olaokun said the sharp stones would spoil their vehicles’ tyres.

“They could have mixed the stones with thick cement; cover it for a few days to avoid being wash away by the rain. What they have done is just a waste of resources. This is not what we are expecting,” Olaokun said.

Around 2pm on Monday, construction work was ongoing at Maryland Under Bridge with about six workers.

A motorist, Kayode Ojo, lamented that the bad state of road has damaged his car many times.

“Is it the money spent to fix my car that I want to count or the endless traffic I face every day on the roads? It is good that the governor has declared a state of emergency on the roads but my plea is that quality work should be carried out, so that when next it rains all the works ongoing now will not be a waste of time, money and energy,” he said.

At Ketu, a road worker, who refused to be named, said it took too long for the governor to attend to the state of the roads. He said some potholes in Ketu had been fixed last week.

A commercial bus conductor, plying from Mile 12 to Yaba who simply identified himself as Baba Uche said the four tyres of the bus have been damaged as a result of constantly plying on bad roads.

Our reporter observed that the driver and his conductor stopped about four times between Ketu and Obanikoro on Ikorodu road to fix the four tyres.

Baba Uche pleaded with the governor to let the roads be fixed permanently, noting that many of them were struggling to make money from the business as the maintenance fee was now more than before.