A long wait on Long Bridge
Motorists, commuters groan over gridlock on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
THE mere sight of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc near the popular “Long Bridge” on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in September was interpreted by motorists and commuters, who are daily confronted with gridlocks on the road as an end to their sufferings.
However, that was not to be as the situation has gone from bad to worse.
The purported rehabilitation of the popular bridge has not provided the needed succor that commuters and motorists are yearning for.
Rather, motorists were not only spending about three hours just from Berger to Arepo a distance of less than 300 metres, a journey that hitherto takes less than 10 minutes, it was now becoming a nightmare for residents of Ogun State who have businesses in Lagos.
The gridlocks, which often stretch to the Berger area of Lagos State, The Guardian investigation revealed, are caused by potholes that dotted the road between Arepo and Wawa area.
Sometimes, the traffic snarl starts from early in the morning till midnight and many motorists who felt it would ease in the night, are often disappointed.
Not even motorists who attempt to drive against the traffic can escape the gridlocks as policemen often turned them back from the Ibafo axis.
The only beneficiaries of the gridlock are street traders, who capitalised on the situation to sell drinks and snacks to hungry and tired motorists.
A resident, Ogochi Mmadukwe, said the traffic is becoming an experience one would not wish even for an enemy.
Mmadukwe, who lives at Pakuro, Mowe in Obafemi- Owode Local Council, but works on Lagos Island, lamented that it has not been easy for her in the past one week, as she always gets home between 12 midnight and 1.00 am everyday.
She said: “My brother, this is not just funny. It is killing especially for a mother like me. It is also difficult to understand that our governments have decided to look the other way.”
“I was one of those who heave a sigh of relief when I saw Julius Berger equipment at site in September, but that they could not provide immediate solution on the intractable gridlock at that section of the road is baffling.”
Another motorist, Kunle Aina, lamented that apart from the crash barriers used to demarcate the median at the Wawa Bus Stop area in the construction zone, nothing was done at the failed portion of the road.
“The barricaded median was laid with sand, cement and pipes to connect some underground drainage channels.”
“There was also a stack of New Jersey Barriers stockpiled at both the Wawa and Opic Plaza Bus Stops on the Lagos-bound carriageway.”
“Julius Berger’s earth moving equipment, trucks and heaps of laterite, soil base and crushed stones were also on ground at the Wawa Bus Stop on the Lagos-bound carriageway. But that was all we could get from them as we continued to suffer,” he added.
On Sunday, however, The Guardian noticed what could be a reprieve for motorists as some repairs are being done on the some failed portions of the road.
One of the engineers at the site, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was a routine work pending the completion of the road.
He also denied claims that the construction giant abandoned the road, urging motorists to exercise a little patience with them.
According to him, Julius Berger is still alive with the contractual agreement and will deliver as expected.
But Monday Adu, a lawyer, who resides in Magboro, wants a permanent solution to the gridlock in order to ease what he called the horrendous experience on the road.
It will be recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan had inaugurated the reconstruction and expansion works on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in July 2013.
The N167 billion projects awarded to Julius Berger and Reynolds Construction Company from Lagos to Sagamu Interchange and from Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan respectively, were to be completed within 48 months.
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