With the delivery of 83.92 kilometres of roads in one year and another 99.147 kilometres ongoing, the Lagos State Government it seems is stoutly battling traffic congestion, writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE
n just 19 months, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has demonstrated that he is a man of his words.
Within this time, he has delivered on his promise to improve Lagos roads. “We are committed to seeking comprehensive solutions to traffic congestion. We are ready to implement any tough recommendations you may come out with,” he told a league of consultants and experts at the Lagos Traffic Management and Transportation Summit on November 26, 2015.
Then, many could wager a bet, and even laugh at him. Reason: The bleak economy, a lean purse and crass under estimation of his rugged determination.
Despite the huge investments by past administrations and the enactment of the Lagos Traffic Law 2012, the gridlock remains.
The ease of travelling, using affordable, reliable and safe means of transportation, which is critical to the governor’s smart city dream governor is becoming a mirage.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and agree on how our transportation sector can be effectively and efficiently operated to support the kind of trade and investment we want to continually attract.
“We owe it to the people to ensure that Lagos works and tackling traffic is a good place to begin the significant change that the people expect from us,” he said at the summit.
A governor at Work
Ambode has shown the capacity to accomplish his dream. In the last 20 months,the government has been rehabilitating, planning, designing and implementing road infrastructure that can meet the state’s future needs.
It is doing this through short-medium and long term remediation strategies in synch with its strategic masterplan which has been on stream since 2001.
The short term strategy is the regular-year-round maintenance of existing roads, assigned to the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC).
On this platform, inner city roads across Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe, the state’s five administrative divisions, are constantly being worked upon. The medium term strategy is the sustainability of existing roads through rehabilitation, upgrading and expansion of secondary carriage ways, in order to increase their capacity and functionality in soaking up the traffic congestion, while the long term, deals with the expansion of highways and the construction of new bridges across the state.
Under these strategies, the government completed 83.92 kilometres of roads in one year.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Temidayo Erinle, said another 99.147 kilometres in the rural and urban areas will soon be delivered.
Seeing the importance of road to the economic prosperity of the state, the governor, according to Erinle, approved the construction of more roads to ease traffic.
This year alone, the government completed five pedestrian bridges totalling 0.47 kilometres, aimed at improving the safety of pedestrians while three are ongoing at various locations in the state.
He listed some of the completed roads to include the Ajah Flyover/upgrading of the Freedom Road to Admiralty Road in Eti-Osa Local Government, the Abule-Egba flyover, upgrading of arterial/inner roads in Epe, Ayetoro Road in Alimosho, Ishefun, Camp David New market roads in Alimosho as well as the laybys and slip roads at Ojodu Berger.
Other completed pedestrian bridges listed are the Anthony-Gbagada foot bridge by TREM, the rehabilitation of Mile 12 foot bridge, and the construction of the Steel Bridge at Ojota to complement the existing one that became insufficient due to the barrier mounted on the road and the ongoing reconstruction of the Cement Bus Stop foot bridge on the new Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The Ojodu Berger pedestrian bridge, which strides across the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Ogunnusi Road has a total span of 98m with illumination. It has 150m length of laybys on both sides of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 500m length of retaining wall with varying height ranging from 3.5m to 7m to separate the infrastructure of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at grade with Ogunnusi, PWC and Olowora roads.
Other features of the projects include two multi-bay bus park/bus laybys on Ogunnusi Road with public convenience and a food court.
The upgraded roads in the projects are 650m slip road from Oando Petrol Station by Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to Omole/Olowora Junction, 700m Ogunnusi/Wakatiadura dual road from Kosoko Road junction to Lagos-Ibadan-Expressway, 250m PWC Road to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Streetlight and signals
Also included in the projects are streetlights, meant to improve security infrastructure and travel experience across the state. Others are the introduction of laybys and ultra modern bus terminals. This would be further complemented by Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) signalisation network that would further enhance the security, regularity and reliability of public transportation.
Government said its road projects are laid out to enhance the socio-economic development of both Lagos and its sister states, as it would reduce the huge man hour loss and ensure safety of lives, especially that of pedestrians with the construction of the flyovers.
LSPWC, Erinle said, worked on 807 roads, delivered over 532, adding that work was ongoing on the others.
Among other roads Ambode awarded are: the rehabilitation/upgrading of Ebute-Igbogbo road Phase 2, The strategic arterial/inner roads in Epe Phase 2, the dualisation of Bisola Durosimi Etti/Hakeem Dickson in Lekki, the rehabilitation and maintenance of Lekki-Epe Expressway, rehabilitation of Alhaji Akinwumi Street, Mushin, upgrading of Obagun Avenue Mushin, dualisation of Irede Road in Amuwo-Odofin, construction of Aradagun-Iworo, Ajido Epeme Road with Bridges in Badagry. Others are the Igbogbo-Igbe Road in Ikorodu Local Government, Ilaje Road, Odunsi in Shomolu and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, which the government planned to be upgraded into a 10-lane supe highway with side roads, laybys and two flyovers, all part of the regeneration and urban renewal agenda of the government.
Fourth Mainland Bridge
Another signal that Ambode can take tough decision to change the congestion on the roads is the cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the consortium of contractors for the Fourth Mainland Bridge.
Mr Adebowale Akinsanya, the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, who oversees the Works and Infrastructure ministry, said the government, had to cancel the contract over the delays in its take-off.
The government, Akinsanya said has gone ashopping with bidders already streaming in from Japanese, Chinese, American and British conglomerates to fast-track the bridge that would be the signature project that will redefine the state’s robust transportation strategies.
Akinsanya said contrary to speculations making the rounds, the government had not cancelled the Fourth Mainland Bridge, but was merely looking for new partners to actualise it with the least pain to residents.
With 22 million population and home to three of every vehicle in Nigeria, Lagos, according to experts require more than the antiquated single-lane roads that were its lot until recently.
The removal of the entire roundabouts along the major junctions, residents said have brought sanity to traffic on the axis.
A Plant Projects Limited source, (the firm which handled the removal of roundabouts on the axis), confirmed that the road failed principally because it failed to capture future developments patternms along the axis, despite the rush by developers and the mushrooming of residential estates in the area.
The source who did not want to be named said the road, built to cater for 50,000 vehicles daily in the 80s now carries 750,000 vehicles, resulting in the congestion.
“What the removal of the roundabouts have done is to expand the road’s carriage, thereby improving its functionality,” the source said. He said appropriate signalisation would further reduce travel headache.
An indigenous contractor, who also requested not to be mentioned, said much of the traffic crisis in the state could be addressed with adequate signalisation and signages.
Harping on the need for Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS), to be incorporated into the transportation architecture of the state, the contractor said with ITS, road users, especially motorists, would make better use of the roads with the least encumberance.
The source said Lagos is big enough to adopt the best international practices added that much could be achieved with intelligent redistribution of traffic than by constructing bridges.